London, Oct 23: The world famous Madame Tussauds waxworks museum is considering opening a branch in Mumbai.
Keeping an eye on Indian fans, its Mumbai branch will feature Indian cricket players and Bollywood film stars, after Amitabh Bachchan became the first Indian actor to be featured in London's Madame Tussauds.
Mumbai is part of the museum's plans to move beyond the UK by its new owners Dubai International Capital.
Its strategy will be given a boost by its first set of figures under new ownership, due to be filed in Companies House today. They show that the company was able to shake off the devastating effect of the July 7 bombs in London. In 2005, operating profits increased six per cent to 7.05 million pounds on a three per cent increase in turnover to 205m million pounds.
Robert Roger, the Madame Tussauds finance director, said the bombs were responsible for knocking four million pounds off the company's profits last year and so far this year, its city-centre attractions have seen a 15 per cent increase in turnover. This has been helped by increased levels of pre-booking on the internet, which allows visitors to avoid the notoriously long queues a strategy that has also benefited the profit margins.
Another reason for the jump in turnover is the opening of its waxwork attractions in Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Mr Roger told The Telegraph that these overseas sites are thriving due to extensive research into the quirks of local celebrity culture. In Shanghai, for instance, the most popular female waxwork is not Kylie Minogue nor a Chinese popstar but yesteryear's actress Audrey Hepburn.
Although an Indian Madame Tussauds is some years away, but the company has already ascertained that Mumbai is a very attractive market, with a big enough population, combined with an obsession with celebrities.
Since its 2005 figures were compiled, the company has completed its 95m pound acquisition of the London Eye from co-investors British Airways and the architect firm that designed the wheel.
Tussauds said the Eye is now finally profitable as a result of the deal.