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PROOF: Salman Khan's growing fans overseas

Last updated on: August 3, 2012 16:53 IST

PROOF: Salman Khan's growing fans overseas

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Arthur J Pais in New York

If anyone needs proof of Salman Khan's growing popularity among desis and fans of Hindi films abroad, a quick look at the adoring fans at Madame Tussauds in New York would be a great proof.

For years, even while his films were minting big moolah in India, they were no big shake at the overseas market except for Maine Pyar Kiya in 1989.

The big guns in the last decade were Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan. But in the last 20 months, Salman's films have also been doing pretty strong business in the lucrative market in North America and the United Kingdom. His latest film Ek Tha Tiger is expected to do brilliantly on both sides of the Atlantic.

So the wax statue, one may say, has arrived in New York at the right time. It joined on August 3 stars as Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan in the attraction's "Bollywood Zone."


Image: Salman Khan's wax statue at Madame Tussauds New York
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi

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For those who have been wondering why Shah Rukh's image was not sent a world tour recently by Tussauds, the mystery is clear.

News reports had said a few months ago that statues of Shah Rukh, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan and Kareena Kapoor will be travelling to Hong Kong and Bangkok and half a dozen cities.

At Hong Kong, the statues will be showcased in the museum's World Premiere Zone alongside the wax figure of Amitabh.

Salman's statue may join the tour later.


Image: Salman Khan's wax statue at Madame Tussauds New York
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi

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PROOF: Salman Khan's growing fans overseas

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The wax image is on loan from Madame Tussauds in London and will be displayed till September 2012.

Tussauds makes the decision on commissioning the wax images based on requests by fans at large.

'Salman Khan is one of Bollywood's most enduring and recognisable stars,' said Bret Pidgeon, General Manager of Madame Tussauds New York in a statement. 'Bollywood exploded on the American pop culture scene several years ago and has become one of our most exciting entertainment categories.' 


Image: Shah Rukh Khan's wax statue at Madame Tussauds New York
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi

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PROOF: Salman Khan's growing fans overseas

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He also said the statue was launched in London in January 2008, after Salman beat nine other Indian stars -- including Madhuri Dixit, Hrithik Roshan, Lata Mangeshkar and Abhishek Bachchan -- to choose the 'Next Bollywood Star' that would get a wax likeness.

He became the fourth Bollywood actor -- after Amitabh, Aishwarya Rai and Shah Rukh - to figure there.

More than 10,000 people voted in the August 2007 public poll. The star personally chose and donated the black top and denim jeans for his wax figure.


Image: Salman Khan's wax statue at Madame Tussauds New York
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi

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The Bollywood Zone could be a scene from a Mumbai movie. It is a brightly coloured interactive area that includes a replica of the Taj Mahal, videos of Indian dancers and a photo area where visitors pose with Bollywood stars. It draws not only South Asians at the Times Square facility but also Bollywood fans from worldwide.

The young owner of a Tajik restaurant in the city announced the other day he would be taking his Tajik and Russian friends who are arriving in New York from Chicago to see the wax images of Bollywood stars.

"But I don't want to tell them right now," he said. "When they will see how life like the statues are, they will think they must be in India."


Image: Salman Khan's wax stature unveiled at Madame Tussauds Museum in New York
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi

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