Asia’s Richest Man Prepares to Host the Wedding-of-the-Year for His Son

Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s richest man, hosted a three-day prenuptial bash for his son in March. The event drew 1,200 guests, including previous global leaders, tech tycoons, and Bollywood megastars. Rihanna also sang.

It was just the beginning of their months-long expensive pre-wedding parties, which have made headlines and sparked a social media frenzy.

In May, the family hosted a 3-day pre-wedding cruise from Italy to France, featuring a DJ set by David Guetta, Katy Perry’s popular song “Firework,” and a performance by Pitbull, according to media reports.

Finally, the wedding is slated for next week, with Anant Ambani, 29, marrying his longtime girlfriend, Radhika Merchant, in what many are calling the wedding of the year.

Here’s what we know:

(Justin Bieber/Instagram)

Who are the Ambanis?

The groom’s father is Mukesh Ambani, 66, who is presently the world’s ninth richest man, with $116 billion, according to Forbes. He is also the wealthiest person in Asia.

His Reliance Industries is a vast conglomerate with over $100 billion in annual revenue and holdings ranging from petrochemicals, oil and gas, telecoms, and retailing.

Among other assets, the Ambani family owns a 27-story private residential building in Mumbai called Antila, which is valued $1 billion. It features three helipads, a 160-car garage, a private movie theater, a swimming pool, and a fitness center.

India Ambani Wedding Explainer (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Critics argue that Ambani’s company’s success stems from political connections under Congress governments in the 1970s and 80s, as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s control after 2014. According to some, “crony capitalism” in India has aided the growth of particular firms, including Ambani’s.

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 (via REUTERS)

The family patriarch has begun to transmit the torch to his two sons and daughter. The oldest son, Akash Ambani, is now chairman of Reliance Jio, their telecoms company; his daughter, Isha, manages retail; and the groom, Anant, the youngest, has been appointed to the new energy firm.

Anant Ambani (R), son of Indian businessman Mukesh Dhirubhai Amani, and his wife Radhika Merchant pose for pictures during the inauguration of the Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre (NMACC) at the Jio World Centre (JWC) in Mumbai (AFP via Getty Images)

Who are the bride and groom?

According to the Reliance Industries website, Anant holds a bachelor’s degree from Brown University and is in charge of the conglomerate’s renewable and green energy operations.

He also manages a 3,000-acre (almost 1,200-hectare) animal rescue sanctuary named Vantara in the family’s homeland of Jamnagar, Gujarat. In March, guests spent days reveling in the grandiose pre-wedding party.

The bride, Radhika Merchant, 29, is the daughter of pharmaceutical mogul Viren Merchant and the marketing director for his company, Encore Healthcare, according to Vogue.

She told the publication that the two met through mutual friends in 2017. “That first meeting just sparked something special between us, and it wasn’t long before we started dating,” she explained.

When’s the wedding and what’s expected?

The primary wedding ceremony is scheduled for July 12, followed by a spectacular reception on July 14, according to local media. The celebrations are anticipated to take place at Ambani’s Jio World Convention Center in Mumbai, as well as their family home.

The dates were apparently picked according to the couple’s birth charts, as is customary in Hindu culture, and were thought auspicious. In keeping with custom, the wedding will be preceded by many days of traditional wedding ceremonies and rituals.

This photograph released by the Reliance group shows L to R, Bollywood stars Amir Khan, Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan performing at a pre-wedding bash of billionaire industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s son Anant Ambani in Jamnagar, India, Saturday, 02 March 2024 (AP)

On Friday, Indian social media was buzzing with recordings from the couple’s sangeet, a ritual in which the bride and groom’s family perform dances for the guests. Bollywood stars Alia Bhatt, Ranveer Singh, Salman Khan, and Justin Bieber performed at the event, according to local media.

This handout photograph taken and released by Reliance on March 2, 2024, shows pop icon Rihanna posing for pictures at the Jamnagar airport in Jamnagar (Reliance/AFP via Getty Images)

As part of the pre-wedding festivities, the family hosted a mass wedding for more than 50 disadvantaged couples last week.

This photograph released by the Reliance group shows Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan posing for a photograph at a pre-wedding bash of Mukesh Ambani’s son Anant Ambani in Jamnagar, India, Saturday, 02 March2024 (AP)

The Ambanis are known for throwing extravagant parties, and the events next week are likely to attract even more celebrities, billionaires, and international leaders.

This photograph released by the Reliance group shows from L to R, Jared Kushner, daughter Arabella and Ivanka Trump posing for a photograph with billionaire industrialist Mukesh Ambani, right, at a pre-wedding bash of Ambani’s son Anant Ambani in Jamnagar, India, Friday, 1 March 202 (AP)

The guest list for the pre-wedding event in March featured Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, previous Canadian and Qatari presidents, as well as Bollywood A-list stars Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone. In addition to Rihanna, Akon and Diljit Dosanjh, a Punjabi musician who rose to international stardom after performing at Coachella, took the stage.

In 2018, when his daughter married, Ambani made headlines for the lavish celebrations, which included music sensation Beyoncé performing at the pre-wedding festivities. Former US Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry met Indian celebrities and Bollywood stars in Udaipur, western India.

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