Kolkatans, gear up for the ultimate celebrity experience! You can actually cozy up to them without being elbowed by security personnel and bouncers and even pose for a perfect picture with the country’s most famous faces. Sporting icons, movie stars, statesmen, historical greats are all there to grant you these privileges. And moreover, you need not travel to London or at least to Hong Kong to be at Madame Tussauds but you can now have a similar experience, only a few km away at Newtown in Rajarhat. The new Mother’s Wax Museum attempts to replicate the experience, though at a smaller scale if compared to Madame Tussauds.
Mother’s Wax Museum was inaugurated on November 10, 2014, at the inauguration of the Kolkata Film Festival in Netaji Indoor Stadium by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and veteran actor, Amitabh Bachchan along with superstar, Shahrukh Khan. It was thrown open to public on November 11, 2014.
Spread over an area of around 6000 sq ft., Mother’s Wax Museum occupies the 6th floor of Finance Centre and happens to be the largest wax museum in the country with around 20 spectacular wax statues on display. Explaining the decision to open a wax museum at New Town, Debashis Sen, Chairman and Managing Director, WBHIDCO said: “We always wanted to make New Town a place for unique experiences. It has the largest water body in Kolkata, we also thought of setting up a wax museum after our visit to Madame Tussauds in London. Keeping in mind the city’s iconic figure – Mother Teresa, universally revered as ‘Mother’ we decided to name it as Mother’s Wax Museum.”
Apart from Mother Teresa, the museum houses a number of wax statues of icons from different fields. An interesting thing is the individual backdrop-created keeping in mind the respective fields or contributions of the personality. For instance, you would find the legendary singer, Manna De, in his trademark cap and with his harmonium, ready to regale the onlookers with one of his golden oldies. Similarly, the hit pair of yesteryears, Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar are shown with microphones in their hands, almost ready to break into one of their innumerable melodious duets. Similarly, noted scientist, Jagdish Chandra Bose is seen in his laboratory setting, performing various experiments.
Upon entering the museum, one comes across wax statues of historical figures including Vivekananda, Ramakrishna and Mahatma Gandhi, each depicted in their characteristic postures. You move on to find Rabindranath Tagore sitting and reading a book. The rebel poet, Kavi Nazrul Islam is close by and so is our nationalist leader, Subhash Chandra Bose. Some of our contemporary leaders too have found a place in the museum. President, Mr Pranab Mukherjee is seen standing in his office.
The sports section features legendary cricketers Saurav Ganguly and Kapil Dev while soccer star Diego Maradona is about to score a goal with his lethal left foot. Among Bollywood actors Mithun Chakraborty is about to break into a jig akin to his Disco Dancer days while Big B is seen in his trademark style with one hand in his pocket. Shahrukh Khan is the only Khan to find a place in the museum, thanks to his long association with Kolkata Knight Riders and as a brand ambassador of the state. The legendary romantic pair of Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen are also there though their wax resemblances may not live upto the expectations of their fans. This section is quite captivating with back to back song tracks of these stars of silver screen playing in the background. Television sets also display off screen videos of superstars. There is also a separate kid’s section which houses cartoon characters like Doraemon and Spider Man.
The museum is the handiwork of Sushanta Roy, a veteran artist who has been producing such magnificent wax works for quite sometimes. “It takes about a month or two to build a statue. But if good reference material is available then it takes even less time. For example, it took me around two months to create the statue of Mahatma Gandhi but the statue of Amitabh Bachchan took much less time because the accurate measurements were available,” said Mr Roy.
Before casting the statue, the artist requires photographs of the person from appropriate angles for reference. Accordingly, he makes a sketch on paper deciding on the posture that would look best. Next comes measurements which must be accurate following which the casting takes place. First, a statue is made with clay, then comes a dice made out of plaster of paris from the clay model. Finally, molten wax is poured in the mould. The statue is fitted with cemented iron rods to make it stand straight. The statues are then outfitted with their clothes and footwear. Finally, rods are drilled into the floor to secure the wax statue at a fixed place.
“The visitors are welcome to click as many photographs with the icons but they are not allowed to touch the wax statues”, warned Mr Sen.
Rabindranath Tagore, Pranab Mukherjee, Saurav Ganguly, Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan are crowd pullers, when it comes to posing with their favourite heroes. Statues of Mr Bean (kids section) and Sachin Tendulkar (cricket section) are going to be added to the display soon.
There is a separate photo booth to click digital photos with your favourite personalities and frame it just for `100. Key chain, coffee mugs, mementos, photo frame and wall clocks are also available, offering the option of personalising each item with your clicked images. The museum has an open cafeteria with an excellent picturesque setting because of the Eco Park situated just opposite to it.
So, for a Madame Tussaud-like experience at your own backyard visit the country’s largest wax museum, Mother’s Wax Museum.
Mother’s Wax Museum (MWM)
Location: New Town, Rajarhat (opposite Eco-Park)
Entry fee: Rs. 150
Timings: 12 noon – 7.30pm
Car Parking: Inside the premises