MADAME TUSSAUDS is coming to India — with a tape measure. The London museum, famous for its life-like waxworks, will open a branch in Mumbai. Indian celebrities will be measured and their waxworks made and displayed. Most of those featured are likely to be Bollywood stars and cricketers, the mainstay of Indian celebdom. Already on the list are actor Amitabh Bachchan and cricketer Sachin Tendulkar.
The forthcoming branch in Mumbai — after New York, Las Vegas, Amsterdam and Shanghai — is part of a concerted push by Madame Tussauds's new owners, the Dubai International Capital, a private equity firm backed by the Dubai government, to expand beyond the United Kingdom.
While the opening of the India branch is some years away, Madame Tussauds, which was making losses in 2004, believes the move makes sound business sense. The owners are apparently convinced that Mumbai is an attractive market with not only enough celebrities, but also enough people obsessed with celebrities.
At the original Madame Tussauds in London, Bollywood is represented by Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai whose wax figures stand next to those of Hollywood stars Brad Pitt and Jennifer Lopez. Madame Tussauds's press officer said the waxworks of Bachchan and Rai drew many Indian tourists to the museum. They have reason to expect success in Mumbai.