Who does not know the ultra-famous “Madame Tussauds” wax museum.
This wax museum founded by Marie Tussaud somewhere in 1835 has some of the most notable and prominent people immortalized in wax form.
It is almost a matter of pride and honour to have a wax statue at one of these museums and is sort of a mark that you have finally achieved something.
Now, with the latest Madame Tussauds finally opening in Delhi, on December 1st in Regal Building, Connaught Place, and finally making its arrival at the Indian shores, I do wonder if all the hype around this museum is still worth it or not.
The History Behind This Iconic Museum
Marie Tussaud born in 1761, was taught wax modeling by Dr. Philippe Curtis who’s house her mother worked at as a housekeeper. At the age of 6, Marie travelled with Curtis to Paris and made her first wax sculpture in 1777. She was even imprisoned during the French Revolution for 3 months, but fortunately, she escaped without much harm.
At that point in time, Tussaud had sculpted many influential people including Jean Jacques Rousseau and Benjamin Franklin.
In 1794 she inherited her mentors wax model collection and then subsequently travelled across Europe exhibiting them until she met her future husband Francois Tussaud whom she married in 1795.
By 1835, she had opened her first museum, whose major attraction was the ‘Chamber of Horrors’ on Baker Street. However, due to lack of finances, the museum was eventually shifted to Marylebone Road where it still exists and was officially opened in June 1884 by Marie’s grandson Joseph Randall.
Then after a lot of back and forth and selling off the ownership, Madame Tussauds finally came to its current owners the Prestbury and Merlin Entertainment that finally took it to the status it enjoys today.
Today, Madame Tussauds has about 30 museums all over the world, with probably around a 1000 wax model statues in total.
But Madame Tussads Is Losing Its Quality
Having actually been to the real and original Madame Tussauds and a few other subsequent ones, I can say with a guarantee, that the quality is absolutely amazing… well, till you come to the Bollywood section.
Not just Bollywood for that matter, even other notable Indian figures like Mahatma Gandhi and more were an absolute horror to watch in reality.
Not because they looked ugly, but because they literally looked like wax statues.
Where the rest, you take any Hollywood or Western figure, seemed eerie in how lifelike they looked, as if they’d get up right then and there and start speaking, it was shameful to see how badly done the Indian wax figures were.
I had heard so much about Madame Tussauds and my experience at the museum too was great up until I got the Indian figures where I realized that it seems quality and care is only limited to the Western figures.
The art seems to be quite over-influenced by locational sensibilities and it seems they just cannot get the Indian features correct no matter what they do.
It also seems that slowly, over time, it is no longer a big deal to get your statue made by the iconic wax museum. Where earlier it was incredibly difficult, nowadays almost every other popular person is getting their statue made, without consideration to how much contribution they have made to their field.
In light of Madame Tussauds perhaps losing their charm and identity, do not really know if having one in Delhi is really something we need or not.
Image Credits: Google Images