Behind the Scenes at Delhi’s Madame Tussauds

POV

Behind the Scenes at Delhi’s Madame Tussauds

Illustration: Sushant Ahire

I

am wearing a paper bracelet and walking down a red carpet in the middle of Connaught Place. I’m not in one of those shady middle circle drinking holes, where live music gigs serve as a sorry excuse to serve underage teens alcohol. Instead, what I am about to enter is far more sinister. It is the newest Madame Tussauds in the world, the wax museum’s 23rd iteration, and it is right here in the heart of the city where the historic Regal Cinema once used to be. My eyes zoom in to register either the moment’s vanity, or the weirdness. Hell is other people’s eyes, I realise. How did I talk myself into this?

The museum opened a few days ago, with the promise of 50 wax likenesses of Indian celebrities. Inside, a flurry of red, the kind I last saw when Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining imploded into a sea of blood, piques my senses – and Valentine’s Day feels like the imagination of a painter with a jaundiced eye or hypothermic abdomen. Out of my blind side Salman Bhai bears down on me on a rickshaw. There is Sachin – twice – that I kind of get, and Kapil Sharma – thankfully once – that I still don’t. At least they get Cristiano Ronaldo’s bust right, I think to myself. Milkha Singh, though, who is perhaps more accessible in real life, is more Farhan Akhtar than Milkha himself.

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