Ambani son’s pre-wedding bash features Rihanna, tycoons and Bollywood stars






Rihanna with hosts and guests at the pre-wedding bash where she performed. PHOTO: Reliance Industries handout via Reuters
FILE PHOTO: Anant Ambani, son of Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries, and Radhika Merchant, daughter of industrialist Viren Merchant, serve traditional Gujarati food to villagers ahead of their pre-wedding celebrations on the outskirts of Jamnagar, Gujarat, India February 28, 2024. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Charter jets for tycoons and celebrities, a performance by Rihanna and directions to don “jungle fever” outfits when visiting an animal rescue centre – that’s how billionaire Mukesh Ambani kickstarted big fat Indian wedding celebrations for his son.

Actors Salman Khan, Ram Charan, Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan. via Reliance Industries

The head of Indian conglomerate Reliance and Asia’s richest man with a net worth of $114 billion according to Forbes, Ambani is known for never doing a party by halves.

Mukesh Ambani, the Chairman of Reliance Industries, Radhika Merchant and Nita Ambani, share a moment during the pre-wedding celebrations of Anant Ambani and Radhika in Jamnagar, Gujarat, India, March 1, 2024. — Reuters

The occasion of the moment that has India transfixed is a three-day pre-wedding jamboree for his youngest son Anant Ambani, 28, who is set to marry his long-time girlfriend Radhika Merchant, 29. It began Friday, with some 1,200 guests and took place in a township in Jamnagar near Reliance’s main oil refinery in the western state of Gujarat.

Bill Gates and family with the Ambanis. — Reuters/File

The wedding itself does not take place until July and festivities de facto began on Wednesday when Anant and his bride-to-be hosted a communal dinner for local villagers that served 51,000.

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan at the Ambani wedding celebrations. — Reuters/File

In addition to pop and R&B superstar Rihanna, U.S. magician David Blaine was scheduled to perform and there were also traditional ceremonies in a temple complex.

Rihanna performing at the 3-day pre-wedding celebrations of Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant March 1, 2024. PHOTO videograb from X @TeamofRihanna

Anant’s pre-wedding bash was attended by Bill Gates, Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg, fellow Indian billionaires Gautam Adani and Kumar Mangalam Birla, as well as many cricketers and Bollywood film stars such as Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan.

Also expected were Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, which announced a $8.5 billion merger of its India media assets with Reliance’s on Wednesday.

Anant is a director at Reliance’s new energy business and one of Ambani’s three children who are the heirs to his empire. Merchant is a director at India’s Encore Healthcare.

Ambani also made headlines with his daughter Isha’s wedding in 2018 which was described by some as a mini-Davos summit. Former U.S. Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry were among those who hit the dance floor with Bollywood stars back then.

Guests to Anant Ambani’s celebrations were set to savor 500 dishes created by around 100 chefs.

Guests were pampered – hair styling, makeup artists and Indian wear drapists were available but only on a “first come, first serve basis,” according to a planning document provided to invitees and seen by Reuters.

Guests were also to visit a rescue center that Reliance says is home to more than 2,000 animals and has one of the world’s largest elephant hospitals. The dress code is “jungle fever” with guests advised to wear animal print clothing or Hawaiian shirts.

Return charter jet flights from New Delhi and Mumbai are on offer, but guests have been asked to limit themselves to only two luggage items or three suitcases per couple. The document cautions that “if you bring more”, there’s no guarantee it will arrive on the same flight.

Guests have also been asked to be reasonable in their expectations for laundry services.

“Any clothes given to steam (press) will be returned within 3 hours…expecting or requesting anything quicker than that may not be feasible,” it said.



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