The Delhi arm of London’s famous Madame Tussauds wax museum was “temporarily closed” ever since the lockdown was announced on March 20. Now, the attraction, housed at Connaught Place’s Regal Building, will not reopen at all, as its holding company, Merlin Entertainments India, has decided to shut shop.
“Merlin Entertainments can confirm it will permanently close Madame Tussauds Delhi in Connaught Place,” Anshul Jain, general manager and director, Merlin Entertainments India, said.
Even though the company had announced an investment of 10 million Euros in India when it launched Madame Tussauds Delhi in November 2017, it had received a tepid response from visitors. Many thought the ticket price of Rs 760 was a dampener, and the outlet kept on piling losses.
The premises has now been vacated and the 120-odd wax models packed off.
Jain put the lukewarm response for the central Delhi outlet on the location. “Even though it was a prime location, we realised in due course that there were a lot of issues — encroachment by illegal street vendors, hawkers, parking issues, CP’s Outer Circle being a no-stoppage zone, and the place being overcrowded and unsafe for visiting families with small children,” he told The Indian Express.
The company had invested a substantial sum in designing the CP outlet and worked out a unique 60:40 model, wherein 60% figures were based on local personalities and the rest were selected from among the museum’s international galleries. “Generally, we work on a 40:60 model, but the Indian market is different,” Jain had told The Indian Express.
The opening gallery had Bollywood actor Salman Khan pulling a cycle rickshaw, wherein visitors could perch on the vehicle and get photographed. There was actor Ranbir Kapoor standing shoulder to shoulder with grandfather Raj Kapoor, who was in his iconic Awara hoon style. Also featured among 50 Indian and international celebrities were comedian Kapil Sharma, actors Hrithik Roshan, Kareena Kapoor and Nicole Kidman, musicians Zakir Hussain and Asha Bhonsle, pop stars Beyonce and Lady Gaga, and sportspersons Usain Bolt, Milkha Singh and Sachin Tendulkar. It also brought Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel under one roof, along with freedom fighter Bhagat Singh and former President APJ Abdul Kalam.
Jain told The Indian Express that they are “certainly looking to explore other options in the NCR” for the attraction to reopen. “Public behaviour will change after the pandemic. People would like to visit places that are more ventilated and where all safety hygiene protocols could be followed,” he said, adding that they are currently exploring options at high-end malls in Noida or Gurgaon.
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