Dubai: Dubai’s hottest new landmark is a week away from opening its doors to visitors. Madame Tussauds Dubai, which takes pride of place on Bluewaters Island, will welcome guests from October 14 to its seven-themed rooms packed with familiar celebrity faces from the Arab world and beyond.
A special media preview ahead of the opening gave us a peek into the venue, which will house around 60 lifelike wax statues, ranging from world leaders to glamourous Hollywood and Bollywood stars.
Bollywood, in fact, has a notable presence with stars such as Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bahchcan, Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Hrithik Roshan, Ranbir Kapoor and his cousin Kareena Kapoor Khan occupying space in a room dressed up like a big fat Indian wedding.
As you enter the wax museum, interactive displays also welcome you, with a chance to dance the night away to an Indian film track, play footie with Lionel Messi and Ronaldo, while taking photographic memorabilia along with the way to be collected as you depart.
Perhaps one of the most striking rooms is the one that houses world leaders, with the exception of John Travolta who has somehow managed to land a spot in that room to pilot former US President Donald Trump and Melania Trump to touchdown in Dubai. Once you land, a foot to the right will be Queen Elizabeth II welcoming you to a cup of tea.
As visitors walk through the seven themed rooms — Leaders, Fashion, Film & Media, Bollywood, Sports and Music Party — guests are given an opportunity to touch and feel the lifelike statues and make the impossible possible by taking a selfie with reality TV stars such as Kylie and Kendall Jenner. Sorry, no Kardashains around yet to keep up with.
Others can choose to walk the runway with Delevingne, croon a song with Lebanese songstress Nancy Ajram or ride a bike with Tom Cruise while reliving the glory from ‘Days of Thunder’.
Centuries of heritage
Madame Tussauds first opened its doors in 1835 in London, and has nearly 200 years of heritage to its name. Each figure is created using the expertise of sculptors who use the same techniques immortalised by the famous Marie Tussauds.
To create a single life-like figure it takes an artist 12 weeks in total, and during that time they document 500 precise body measurements, insert real hair strand by strand, apply countless layers of paints to build up the skin tones, and more. This entire process helps to achieve the incredible likeness that has made Madame Tussauds world renowned for over two centuries.
The time and craftsmanship is also reflected in the value of the figure, which can cost up to Dh700,000, depending on the detail required.
The outlet in Dubai will be the 25th Madame Tussauds attraction, with previous openings in New York, Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, Sydney and so on.
Tickets for Madame Tussauds Dubai are now on sale, with standard admission tickets currently priced at Dh122 for adults aged 11 years and over, Dh99 for children aged 3-11 years and those under three can visit for free.