Lonavala (Maharashtra): Around six years after it was kept ready, a life-size statue of Shiv Sena founder, the late Bal Thackeray, finally went on public display at the famed "Sunil's Celebrity Wax Museum" here.
The wax image of the Thackeray sports a pair of dark glasses, a saffron coloured shining silk kurta with golden buttons and a lungi, a double arudraksh-mala' and his trade-mark white sandals, sitting upright, right hand and a forefinger raised in an emphatic, commanding gesture.
He is shown seated on a large elaborately carved, silver-coloured 'Sinhasan' (throne), with two lions for the hand-rest and the party' logo, a bare-fanged tiger looking down from the top of the backrest.
"This statue was planned and created six years ago, during Balasaheb's lifetime. However, due to some permission complications, it could not be put up for display. Though he passed away in November 2012, the statue's time has finally come," the museum's Managing Director Sunil Kandalloor told IANS.
It would probably have remained hidden in the museum godowns, were it not for a chance visit by Yuva Sena President Aditya U. Thackeray to Lonavala on Sunday for some engagements.
He was informed about the museum, close to the Lonavala bypass on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, and chose to visit it.
Kandalloor, who had received him, said: "I apprised him about the Balasaheb wax statue kept 'secret' and away from the public for so many years. He was very keen to view it, so I showed it. He was very impressed and decided to throw it open for public display immediately."
Aditya Thackeray also assured Kandalloor that he would make efforts to help him set up a Mumbai branch of the SCWM, which already has branches in Devgad and Kochi.
Kandalloor said presently, the museum has around 100 wax figures of various prominent national and international personalities from politics, arts, social fields, Hollywood and Bollywood personalities, sportspersons, etc on display, attracting hordes of tourists daily.
These include Mahatma Gandhi, Subhash Chandra Bose, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, Charlie Chaplin, Bruce Lee, Saint Teresa, Mohammed Rafi, M.F. Husain, Micheal Jackson, James Bond, Queen Elizabeth II, Dalai Lama, Rowan Atkinson, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Anna Hazare, A. R. Rahman, Kapil Dev, Rajnikanth, Ramdev Baba in a seated yogic pose, et al.