SINGAPORE - One of Bollywood's most successful and beloved actresses, Kajol, got a chance to stand beside a wax figure of her likeness on Thursday (May 24) evening at Madame Tussauds Singapore.
Dressed in a black floral sari, she posed next to her doppelganger, who was clad in a shimmery black body-hugging gown during the private unveiling ceremony. The occasion marked the 43-year-old's first red carpet appearance with her 15-year-old daughter, Nysa, and her first wax tribute in her 26-year-long career in the Indian film industry.
The bubbly star and mother of two is married to fellow actor Ajay Devgan, and is best known for her roles in hit movies such as romance Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), drama My Name Is Khan (2010) and action comedy Dilwale (2015).
She said of being immortalised in wax: "It feels a little strange, a little weird. But more than anything, it's an honour given that I remember visiting the museum in London as a kid and standing next to Napoleon Bonaparte's figure because I was a history buff. To now be the figure that people will pose next to is very special."
Hers is the seventh statue to be part of Madam Tussaud's IIFA (International Indian Film Academy) Awards Experience exhibition, a section that honours stars from the Indian film industry.
The exhibition also features the wax likenesses of iconic Bollywood actors such as Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai and Amitabh Bachchan and was launched here last April by veteran actor Anil Kapoor.
Last December, a group of skilled Madame Tussauds sculpting members travelled to Mumbai to meet Kajol and conduct a detailed sitting process. More than 200 measurements were taken and the team also carefully noted the colour of her hair, skin and eyes to ensure an accurate representation of the star.
Kajol said: "It was actually a very exhausting process. They had to take so many measurements, including things like the distance from my nose to my ear. But it was definitely worth the wait."
As one of the most highly paid and sought-after actresses in the 1990s, she has seen the Indian film industry grow over the years, especially with regards to increased global interest in Bollywood cinema today.
"I think cinema around the world has truly broken boundaries thanks to the digital age that we live in," she said. "These days, people might not have an address but they have a cellphone and can surf - that's why cinema is now being held to a higher standard."
The actress will next be seen as an aspiring singer and single mother in the comedy drama Eela, a big screen adaptation of Indian film-maker Anand Gandhi's Gujarati play, Beta Kaagdo, which is slated to be released in September.
But her immediate plans were to celebrate the completion of her wax figure with Nysa, who studies in Singapore.
"I know my daughter is going to look at me later and tell me she prefers me without any makeup on," she said with a laugh. "But I'm looking forward to celebrating by having some quality mother-daughter time tonight."