Come summer, and thousands of star-struck Indians will be able to take as many selfies as they want with the likes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sachin Tendulkar, Amitabh Bachchan and Kim Kardashian. The international wax attraction Madame Tussauds is expected to open its first branch in India in Delhi's Connaught Place by June.
The attraction will be situated in Delhi's historic Regal Cinema building, spread across two floors, and will house 50 wax figures of Bollywood actors, sportspersons and politicians. While 60 percent of the figures are expected to be of local celebrities, the rest will be international figures from history and the world of sports, music, TV, and cinema.
"We looked at the culture and of course, we have a lot of Indian visitors in our existing attractions as well. Their feedback is so positive ... that we said we need to be there," Marcel Kloos, director of new openings in emerging markets at Merlin Entertainments, the company which is bringing Madame Tussauds to India, told Reuters.
The international branches of Madame Tussauds already exhibit statues of prominent Indians such as Mahatma Gandhi and Indira Gandhi, as well as actors such as Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai and Shah Rukh Khan. Last year, it also unveiled figures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at four locations.
The number of visitors in the Madame Tussauds will be restricted to 500 people at a time. The entry prices are still being finalised, but visitors will be able to touch, stand and pose with their favourite celebrities.
This is the Madame Tussauds' twenty-third international branch in the world and the ninth in Asia. One of London's biggest attractions, it was founded there over 200 years ago by French sculptor Marie Tussaud.
In a curtain-raiser held in Delhi, Madame Tussauds unveiled a figure of Amitabh Bachchan clad in a blue bandh gala and black trousers, along with statues of pop star Lady Gaga and Marie Tussaud.
Each waxwork in Madame Tussauds Delhi will be made in London and then brought to India. There will also be a local team of costume designers and make-up artists to ensure that there is no wear and tear.
Every Madame Tussauds waxwork costs as much as ₹1.5 crore, and is created by a team of 20 international and local artists over four months. To ensure that the figures are as realistic as possible, the artists take as many as 500 precise body measurements, and use real human hair and layers of paints and tints to get a life-like skin tone.