A wedding that would put a Bollywood fairy-tale romp by the likes of director Karan Johar to shame played out on Saturday in Mumbai as business empire heirs Akash Ambani and Shloka Mehta got married in an opulent manner.
Spread over three days, the bustling metropolis of Mumbai was transformed into a party zone as influential guests from around the world and Bollywood megastars took to the streets to celebrate the latest Ambani nuptials. If you are keen to know how the rich and the famous celebrate weddings in India, the Ambani family is a good place to start. For some, all of it may be a vulgar display of wealth, but for others it’s an opportunity to see how the rich and famous celebrate their special occasions.
Here are seven things to know about this year’s real-life crazy rich Asian’s wedding exploits ...
1. Meet the bride and groom
Akash Ambani is the oldest son of Asia’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, who runs the Reliance empire, and Nita Ambani. The bride, Shloka Mehta, is the daughter of diamond tycoon Russel and Mona Mehta.
Their glitzy wedding took place on March 11 at the spanking new Jio World Centre at the Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai, after a string of lavish parties thrown in Mumbai and St Moritz in snowy Switzerland.
So how did the two meet, you ask? The newly-weds got acquainted with each other at the Dirubhai International School. They reportedly began dating after remaining friends for almost a decade. They got engaged in Goa in March last year. Shloka studied anthropology at Princeton University before heading to London for her masters in law and anthropology at the London School of Economics. Akash, whose family wealth is estimated at $50 billion (Dh183.6 billion), is an alumnus of Brown University. Yes, they don’t just party for a living.
2. Dancing with the stars
It’s not often that you see big Bollywood stars dancing impromptu on the streets of Mumbai. But Bollywood biggies — who usually walk around with a bunch of security guards around them — threw caution to the wind as they danced unorchestrated at Akash’s wedding. Ranbir Kapoor, Shah Rukh Khan, Karan Johar and Abhishek Bachchan made the groom’s baraat (wedding procession) a lively, dance-filled one. Karan Johar, who was dressed in a bright yellow tunic, was seen dancing merrily with cricketer Hardik Pandya, who had courted controversy after appearing on his talk show. Go online and you can get a glimpse of Khan and Kapoor dance like nobody is watching.
3. Who was on the guest list?
The guest list was extensive and saw stars including Priyanka Chopra, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Alia Bhatt, Deepika Padukone mingling with high-profile entrepreneurs and politicians including former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Industrialists including Ratan Tata, Lakshmi Niwas Mittal and Usha Mittal, Anand Mahindra and Gautam Singhania were also a part of the celebrations.
From South India, matinee idol Rajinikanth attended along with his family.
Other attendees include Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai and global chief executives of the Bank of America, Samsung and J P Morgan.
4. Pre-wedding glitters
The revelry wasn’t limited to the nuptials this week. A few days go, the Ambanis headed to St Moritz in Switzerland to kick-start the wedding mood. St Moritz was transformed into a playground for the rich as private jets carrying a select group of guests landed. Aamir Khan dancing to ‘Aati Kya Khandala’ with the bride-to-be was an instant hit on social media. For the St Moritz gig, only a handful of stars including Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Karan Johar and Shah Rukh Khan were invited. That’s not all. A Harry Potter-themed party where singer Guru Randhawa hit the stage along with a concert by singer Shrey Ghoshal also played out before this weekend’s Mumbai wedding celebrations.
5. The first few dances
If Beyonce performed recently at Mukesh Ambani’s daughter Isha and Anand Piramal’s pre-wedding celebrations, then Akash and Shloka Mehta made sure that they played catch-up. For their party in St Moritz, The Chainsmokers and Chris Martin of Coldplay, were on call to perform love songs. For the Indian leg of the celebrations, we also spotted controversial singer Mika Singh — who was arrested in Abu Dhabi in December last year for sending inappropriate pictures to a girl — was seen performing for the well-heeled guests.
6. Do unto others...
A bit of charity makes for a great goodwill gesture. The Ambanis hosted an ‘anna seva’ (food donation) for 2,000 underprivileged children before embarking on their three-day celebration. They also sent 50,000 boxes of sweets to Mumbai Police stations across the city. A message that read “On the joyous occasion of the wedding of Akash with Shloka, we seek your blessings and good wishes, Nita and Mukesh Ambani, Isha, Anand and Anant” was also included.
7. Playing dress-up
When an Indian wedding of this scale is in the offing, Indian couturiers such as Manish Malhotra, Sabyasachi Mukherji and Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla work overtime to dress up Bollywood stars and guests in their finest creations. Malhotra was heavily patronised this wedding as stars including Kareena Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Kiara Advani chose his creations.
Sabyasachi dressed up Alia Bhatt and Karan Johar in cheerful yellows. The groom Akash wore a tunic designed by Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla. Priyanka Chopra Jonas opted for a sari by Tarun Tahiliani.