The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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After Amitabh, Ash’s turn to wax eloquent

London, Sept. 7: Aishwarya Rai is to be immortalised in wax at Madame Tussaud’s in London where sculptors are currently working to produce an exact replica of the Queen of Bollywood.

She becomes the second Bollywood star after Amitabh Bachchan to take her place in the world famous museum.

Asked whether Madame Tussaud’s would be able to match the legendary beauty of the former Miss World, Michael Birch, a spokesman for the museum, said today: “Yes, definitely, those who make the models at Madame Tussaud’s are the best in the world.”

The Aishwarya lookalike, clothed in costumes from her forthcoming film, Bride & Prejudice, will be unveiled to the public on October 1, the museum announced today.

Aishwarya also confirmed today that she will attend the movie’s glittering world premiere at the Odeon in Leicester Square on October 4, three days before its release in India. Birch said: “She won’t be able to come to the formal opening at Madame Tussaud’s but we expect her to drop in some time during the week.”

Amitabh with his wax model at Madame Tussaud’s.

Four years ago, Bachchan won an online poll to become the first Bollywood star to win an entry at Madame Tussaud’s, which has honoured dozens of Hollywood greats over the decades.

Other Indian stars who were considered along with Bachchan were Aishwarya, Raj Kapoor, Shah Rukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit.

It does seem Madame Tussaud’s has tapped a new market by including Bachchan, who is one of the principal attractions for Indian visitors.

“Amitabh Bachchan has been a massive success and one of the reasons why we decided to have Aishwarya Rai,” said Birch. “With this Bollywood thing going on in Britain, it would also give her a higher profile among people who don’t go to Bollywood films.”

Since Aishwarya sparkles on screen and also photographs well, it will pose a real challenge to the artists at Madame Tussaud’s to produce a convincing model of the 30-year-old star. “She gave us a sitting when she came to London a fortnight ago,” added Birch.

Madame Tussaud’s intends to make the installation of Aishwarya’s model an occasion for fun. It is hiring a drama coach and a choreographer to give pupils a “Bollywood4Beginners” class.

Afterwards, pupils will get to dance a Bollywood number on a stage around Aishwarya’s model with a sequence from Bride & Prejudice playing in the background on a massive plasma screen. Director Gurinder Chadha has promised to be present.

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