Extravagant parties, Bollywood stars and Justin Bieber: How Asia's richest heir is celebrating his wedding (2024)

In short:

Anant Ambani, son of Asia's richest man Mukesh Ambani, is expected to marry Radhika Merchant on July 12.

Their pre-wedding celebrations have included a three-day bash in March, three-day cruise in May and a Sangeet ceremony involving Bollywood stars and Justin Bieber.

What's next?

The main wedding ceremony is expected to be followed with a grand reception on July 14.

In March, Asia's richest man Mukesh Ambani threw a three-day pre-wedding bash for his son.

He invited 1,200 guests including former world leaders, tech tycoons and Bollywood's megastars — and was treated to a performance by Rihanna.

The guest list for March's pre-wedding bash included Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and former leaders of Canada and Qatar — as well as Bollywood's A-list stars Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone.

Akon and Diljit Dosanjh, a Punjabi singer who shot to international fame when he performed at Coachella, also took the stage.

It was only the start of the couple's months-long lavish pre-wedding celebrations.

In May, the family took guests on a three-day pre-wedding cruise from Italy to France.

The cruise experience reportedly included a DJ set from David Guetta, Katy Perry belting out her hit song Firework and a performance by Pitbull to cap it off.

The wedding is set for next week, with 29-year-old Anant Ambani marrying his longtime girlfriend Radhika Merchant in what many have dubbed the wedding of the year.

Who are the Ambanis?

Extravagant parties, Bollywood stars and Justin Bieber: How Asia's richest heir is celebrating his wedding (1)

The father of the groom is 66-year-old Mukesh Ambani.

Mr Ambani is currently the world's ninth richest man with a net worth of $US116 billion ($AU171.83 billion), according to Forbes. He is also the richest person in Asia.

His Reliance Industries energy conglomerate reports over $US100 billion in annual revenue.

The Ambani family owns — among other assets — a 27-storey private apartment building named Antilia, worth $US1 billion, in Mumbai.

The building has three helipads, a 160-car garage, a private movie theatre, a swimming pool and a fitness centre.

Ambani's critics say his company has flourished mainly because of political connections during the Congress governments in the 1970s and 80s and subsequently under Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rule from 2014 onwards.

They say "crony capitalism" in India has helped certain corporations, such as Mr Ambani's, thrive.

The family patriarch has started passing the torch to his two sons and daughter.

The eldest Ambani son, Akash Ambani, is now the chairperson of the family telecommunications business Reliance Jio.

Mr Ambani's daughter, Isha, oversees the family's retail operations.

The groom Anant, the youngest, has been inducted into the new energy business.

Who are the bride and groom?

Anant Ambani has a bachelor's degree from Brown University, according to Reliance Industries' website, and oversees the conglomerate's renewable and green energy expansion.

Extravagant parties, Bollywood stars and Justin Bieber: How Asia's richest heir is celebrating his wedding (2)

He also runs a 1,200-hectare animal rescue centre called Vantara in Gujarat state's Jamnagar, the family's hometown where guests in March spent days celebrating at the extravagant pre-wedding party.

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

She told the magazine she and her groom were introduced through mutual friends in 2017.

"That first meeting just sparked something special between us, and it wasn't long before we started dating," she said.

When's the wedding and what's expected?

The main wedding ceremony is set for July 12, followed by a grand reception on July 14, according to local media.

Celebrations are expected to be split between the Ambani's Jio World Convention Centre in Mumbai city and their family home.

The dates were reportedly chosen based on the couple's birth charts, as is typical in Hindu custom, and deemed auspicious.

Also keeping with tradition, the wedding will be preceded by days of traditional wedding events and rituals.

On Friday, videos from the couple's Sangeet began circulating on social media.

Sangeet is a ceremony where the bride and groom's families perform dances for the guests.

The Ambani ceremony also included performances by Bollywood stars including Alia Bhatt, Ranveer Singh and Salman Khan — as well as Justin Bieber, who flew to Mumbai for the event, according to local media.

Extravagant parties, Bollywood stars and Justin Bieber: How Asia's richest heir is celebrating his wedding (3)

The family also organised a mass wedding for more than 50 underprivileged couples last week, as part of the pre-wedding celebrations.

Extravagant parties are the Ambanis' specialty and next week's events are expected to draw more celebrities, billionaires and world leaders.

In 2018, when his daughter married, Mr Ambani made headlines for organising grand celebrations — including a performance from Beyoncé.

At the time, former US secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry were among those who rubbed shoulders with Indian celebrities and Bollywood stars in the western Indian city of Udaipur.

AP

Extravagant parties, Bollywood stars and Justin Bieber: How Asia's richest heir is celebrating his wedding (2024)
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