limited space and a handful of sculptors, so we have to turn down many of them. It does feel bad but we donalt39t take the risk of taking an order and not delivering on time or compromise on the design,” says idol maker Santosh Kambli, the third
generation of a family that is sculpting Lalbaugcha Raja. Those in the waiting are given idols if there are any unlikely cancellations.
This year the Kamblis have sculpted close to 100 miniature replicas of the Raja in different sizes and many of them will end up in high- profile homes. ” We start taking orders in January itself from those who approach us,” says Kambli. The first of the mini Rajas were made in 2007 for some acquaintances of the Kamblis, but word soon spread and requests began to flow in from as far as Pune and Nagpur.
While Bhujbals idol is a mighty 9- feet high and will be put up at a community mandal in Anjeerwadi, most other replicas are around 2- 3 feet tall and cost around Rs. 10,000. ” No price is too big for the lord but we charge a very reasonable sum and the price is the same for VIPs and the common man,” Kambli adds.
Many of the VIPs, including Shetty and Nirupam, have already taken the idol home; others will be taking them home on Wednesday. With the Lalbaugcha Raja in their homes, lakhs of devotees can only hope that the never ending queues to get a glimpse of the real Raja at Lalbaug are that bit shorter.