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

Charter jets for tycoons and celebrities, a performance by Rihanna and directions to don “jungle fever” outfits when visiting an animal rescue center- that’s how billionaire Mukesh Ambani is kickstarting big fat Indian wedding celebrations for his son.

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.

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 begins Friday, will entertain 1,200 guests and takes place in a township in Jamnagar near Reliance’s main oil refinery in the western state of Gujarat.

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.

Akash Ambani, son of Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani, arrives to attend the pre-wedding celebrations of his brother Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant, daughter of industrialist Viren Merchant, at the airport in Jamnagar, Gujarat, India, February 29, 2024 (credit: REUTERS/AMIT DAVE)

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

Anant’s pre-wedding bash is likely to be attended by Bill Gates, Meta’s META.O 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, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the plans who declined to be identified.

Also likely to attend is 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 are set to savour 500 dishes created by around 100 chefs.

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

They will visit a rescue centre 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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