What is the best way to greet your favourite stars in reality? Some lucky fans get to meet them personally, a small section on the films’ sets and an even smaller number during media interactions. But what about the remaining majority? At least for the Delhi crowd, they have an advantage over their counterparts across the nation. They have the first Madame Tussauds wax museum in the country which opened its doors for Indians in December last year. Four months on, and the number of ‘celebrities’ is growing by the day. So what’s special about the India edition of a wax museum chain which has become synonymous with “living with the stars” quite literally across the globe? In short, why should a person come visit the Delhi one, when the international locations flaunt finesse and craftsmanship?
Personally, I had passed through its new polished structure situated in the iconic Regal building in Connaught Place circle quite a few times. But, never did I feel an urge to step inside and see the stars smiling and gazing at me. Let’s just blame it on the standards set by the original London museum or dozens of others including the Los Angeles (Hollywood) one.
Four months and over 50 statues down, it was time for the unveiling of Shah Rukh Khan’s wax figure. But, unlike how he personally travelled to London when his statue was installed there back in 2007, almost a decade down and looks like King Khan couldn’t make time for his own wax statue in his own country.
As I walked through the fluffy carpet laid on the dusty side path of the road, I did get a feeling I was about to witness something nice. Of course, being an ardent film buff, this time I was excited for a different reason.
The entry took me into a frame straight out of a Sooraj Barjatya film. Salman Khan in his signature leather jacket, a Being Human T-shirt and faded denims is riding a rickshaw. The only difference being that Bollywood’s Bhai is at least 10 years younger – a perfect nostalgia for Sallu fanatics. Yes, you do wish to go on a ride with him but then reality hits you hard and you realise it is just a statue smiling back at you.
Next up, Tom Cruise looks action-ready in a frame straight out of his adrenaline rushing stunts. To place the Mission Impossible star right after Salman was indeed a smart placement by the museum management, given his global appeal.
As I try to come close to Tom (since I cannot do that even if I meet him in reality!), my eyes catch the sight of a beautifully decked up woman wearing lehenga reminding me of Anarkali from Mughal-E-Azam. But, I’m still not sure! I walk towards her and see the name slate behind hear reading ‘Madhubala’. Oh no! She is indeed Madhubala, just that she doesn’t look like her. One point down!
Madhubala had Raj Kapoor for company but in black and white. The monochrome set-up of the showman was inspired by Shree 420. And just when I get teleported to the 1950s Bollywood, I’m brought back by the scion of Kapoors – Ranbir. The eye-candy of the Kapoor clan, in his popular “Badtameez Dil” pose, steals the heart away, just like he did in the song and the film Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. Dressed in a crisp black suit, his statue was dripping life. The waxed Ranbir Kapoor was a clone and I can vouch for that after having met the real actor in person.
Giving an interesting company to them is Marlyn Monroe in bold red. My eyes got stuck on her beauty leaving me thinking if a statue can be this mesmerising, how would it have been when she was alive. Gathering as much as I can in that one sight, I move ahead in the alley to enter a gallery named ‘Stage Area’. On the left is a beaming Anil Kapoor in a shot from Academy Award-winning Slumdog Millionaire. He is sitting and the adjacent chair is for the visitors to come and get themselves clicked. Of course, they can even play KBC on the computer screen put up just like the real show.
On my right is TV’s current controversy’s child Kapil Sharma in his “welcome to the Kapil Sharma Show” posture. Yes, he looks real, in fact too real. There is a couch next to him. So anyone who wishes to be his guest can sit there and get their 5-minutes of fame.
The next two galleries are dedicated to sports with statues of David Beckham, Mary Kom, Sachin Tendulkar, Kapil Dev, Usain Bolt, Leonel Messi, Milkha Singh and Christiano Ronaldo, all perfectly matched to keep the spirit of every sports fan high. And yes, most of them did full justice to the real life counterparts. My favourite was Beckham!
I go deeper inside the room and see a glittering Michael Jackson in his signature pose complete with locks of hair. Next up is the music section with the choicest of singers and composers welcoming us. This was one section I fell in love with, for its amazing arrangement of statues. While on one side is Tabla maestro Zakir Husain seated and in motion, my favourite Asha Bhonsle, in a lovely white sequenced saree with a mic in one hand and her dangling bracelet in the other, is spreading her beautiful smile. Centre of the room is occupied by my childhood favourite Sonu Nigam. Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber are also hanging with our Indian singers. The sole jarring point was Shreya Ghoshal who looked too bloated to be real. No, Shreya cannot be this in real. Her statue surely needs some correction!
One floor down through a chandelier-lit staircase and I enter yet another huge room with stars of even bigger stature. Katrina Kaif welcomes me. Just that she doesn’t look convicing, barring her flat belly and a familiar looking ghagra-choli by Manish Malhotra. As Katrina fails to sustain my attention, I turn on the other side and see Kim Kardashian taking a selfie. Well, now whoever wants one with her has to go stand next to her and place their camera right above hers to get the Perfect angle. Seeing her statue, I understood why her curves are the talk of the town, always!
I skip a heartbeat, only to realise that the next one is only a waxed Will Smith. Yes, he was so real. He is seated with a broad smile, inviting everyone to come next to him and get clicked. This was another favourite. And next to him was Bollywood’s dancing machine Hrithik Roshan. Flaunting his bare chest and chiselled body, his figure also promoted HRX, Hrithik’s signature sports clothing line. They could’ve done a better job with Hrithik too, though.
Next up is a suited Leonardo DiCaprio in his typical smile. He did take my heart away, and so did Scarlet Johansson in a bright green off-shoulder gown. Giving her tough competition is our Indian diva Madhuri Dixit Nene in green again. Her saree is draped perfectly. And her smile, even in a statue can give sleepless nights.
Amitabh Bachchan stands the tallest, literally, with a screen playing IIFA montage in the backdrop. The only point of contention being Big B here is from at least a decade back. It’s time the museum takes his new measurement. After all, we are in love even with his old age wrinkles, right? While Kareena Kapoor’s statue was temporarily removed for maintenance, Angelina Jolie was here making up for the absence of her museum neighbour. A black gown with a thigh-high slit, even Angelina’s figure was oozing sexiness. Did it look real? Who cares, after all this woman is so pretty that even her statue can cast a spell!
Just when I was trying to compare the best and not-so-best sculptures, I was called for the unveiling of Shah Rukh’s wax statue. Wondering what would be his pose this time, the organisers removed the big cloth and there we see the Badshah in a new avatar – a dhoti and a blue bandgala. He looked young, but most people looked happy. After all, he is the king of hearts even today. Did I mention even his statue couldn’t do away with his signature open arms pose? Well, it was enough for his giggling fans to come close to him, take home some clicks and a feeling of meeting SRK in person – exactly what Madame Tussauds museum aims at doing, giving away a part of these stars to their fans.
I came out of the museum with a changed view. They’ve done a good job. Properly decked up with great props alongside each statue that people can use before getting snapped and spot-on lighting, the ambience was decent. It is definitely for those who cannot afford a trip to London or LA. At least they can buy a ticket to this museum which currently costs around Rs 900. Next up to become a part of the Delhi museum family are Sunny Leone and Virat Kohli. Visit the place yourself and do share your experience with us in the comments section below.