NEW YORK – Last July, Salman Khan was the cynosure of all eyes at the IIFA New York. Fans waited for hours to get a glimpse of him at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square before the show at the MetLife stadium in New Jersey. Things have changed quite drastically for the Bollywood star since then. He’s been sentenced to five years in jail for hunting black bucks. As it stands, in the near future, incarcerated felons might get to see him more than fans.
Now, if you’re the type who likes to read between the lines, then a wax avatar of Khan pulling a cycle rickshaw in Times Square may seem rather apt, given the change in fortunes for him.
Khan is among numerous Bollywood celebrities featured at the Madame Tussauds New York, located in Times Square. The wax museum launched ‘Celebrating all things Bollywood’, on Tuesday, April 10, showcasing some of India’s most iconic film stars. The Bollywood segment will stretch through May 31 of this year.
Festivities to launch the occasion included bohemian art installations, a dance performance by three local artists and popular Bollywood songs remixed by a DJ on the ground floor. Special Bhangra Beat DJs will get the weekends started for the public, entertaining crowds on Friday evenings, said a spokesperson.
A special pop-up Bollywood dance performance on top of Big Buses at iconic locations around Times Square had to be pulled because of inclement weather, on April 10.
The wax sculpture of Khan pulling the rickshaw is stationed just inside the entrance of the museum, along with statues of Amitabh Bachchan and Kareena Kapoor. Bachchan has the unique distinction of having two sculptures in his honor, with a similar one on the 9th floor of the museum, one sans a pair of prescription glasses that he sports in public. A henna corner was also opened up for the occasion.
Some other stars whose wax sculptures find space at the museum include Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai, Hrithik Roshan, Katrina Kaif and Madhuri Dixit.
The Madame Tussauds New York is one of seven such wax museums in the United States, with others located in Hollywood, Las Vegas, Nashville, Orlando, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.
Khan pulling a cycle rickshaw was also featured at the Madame Tussauds New Delhi museum, which opened in December. The background for the sculpture was Chandni Chowk, where arguably more cycle rickshaws weave their way through in the maze-like narrow streets and bazaars than any other part of India.
Madame Tussauds New York also features a new section ‘Ghostbusters’, inspired by the 2016 film. From the eerie underground tracks of the New York City subway to the basement of a haunted mansion, to Ghostbusters Headquarters, there are several spooks, with visitors even able to catch a ‘ride’ on Ecto-2.
Just past the Bollywood gallery, on the same floor, is perhaps two of the most stared at and photographed wax sculptures, where people line up patiently to pose: Charlie Chaplin and Marilyn Monroe. Nothing else in the museum quite beats the persona of those two, especially when it comes to the entertainment world.
(Sujeet Rajan is Executive Editor, Parikh Worldwide Media. Email him: firstname.lastname@example.org Follow him on Twitter @SujeetRajan1)