In a scene that looks straight out of Bajrangi Bhaijaan, as one enters the first gallery at Madame Tussauds, Salman Khan — in his trademark black leather jacket and a pair of faded denims — is pulling a cycle rickshaw. The three walls around him are plastered with posters from Old Delhi, illustrating the hustle and bustle of everyday life in that part. In case you want to be a part of the entire set-up, you can perch yourself on the rickshaw and pose for pictures (any of the guides here are happy to help).
Next up is Ranbir Kapoor (in his trademark Badtameez dil pose), standing shoulder to shoulder with grandfather Raj Kapoor, who is in his iconic Awara hoon-style. There is also a Madhubala statue in the room, but to identify the legendary actor of yore, one has to depend on her gold-and-beige lehenga from Mughal-e-Azam for cues, rather than her facial features. On the other hand, the wax models of the Kapoors are strikingly life-like.
As one moves on, there are wax replicas of 50 Indian and international celebrities in the various halls and corridors — comedian Kapil Sharma, actors Hrithik Roshan, Kareena Kapoor and Nicole Kidman, musicians Zakir Hussain and Asha Bhonsle, pop stars Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Justin Beiber, and sportspersons Usain Bolt, Milkha Singh and Sachin Tendulkar. While most replicas look strikingly close to the real people they are modelled on, some others — like that of Kareena Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit-Nene and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan — could have been sharper.
One of the guides tells us that ever since the attraction opened its doors in the heart of Delhi earlier this month, it is pulling crowd over the weekends, notwithstanding a not-so-cheap entry ticket. For most part, it feels like you have strayed into a Page 3 party and don’t want to miss out on getting photographed with any of the celebrities present there, so that the next morning, you have great stuff for your Facebook and Instagram. A young girl who was taking multiple selfies with each figure, said, “I always thought Katrina was very tall, but look, she is just two inches taller than me.” The guide added that all the figures have been modelled as per exact measurements of the people they portray; even the clothes are theirs. So it may be a good opportunity to measure yourself up against your favourite stars. Once you enter, you can spend as much time as you like.
Besides the celebrities, the halls of the franchise have also brought Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel under one roof, along with freedom fighter Bhagat Singh and ‘Missile Man’ APJ Abdul Kalam. The guide adds that over the last three weeks, the most photographed actors have been Ranbir Kapoor and Salman Khan, but the popularity of the Prime Minister remains matchless.
Interestingly, the Delhi arm of the famous London-based attraction — which now has branches in more than 20 cities across the globe — has worked out a unique 60:40 model, wherein 60% statues will be based on local personalities and the rest will be picked from Tussauds’ international galleries elsewhere. “Generally, we work on a 40:60 model, but Indian market is different,” Anshul Jain, Director, Merlin Entertainments India Pvt Ltd, which owns the franchise, had told The Indian Express.
And once you exit the building after suitably enjoying your short-lived fame, it leads you unto one of the back alleys of the building and the stink catches up. Well, back to the real world.
Address: Regal Building, Connaught Place, Delhi
Price: Rs 760 onwards per ticket