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India’s richest man brings Rihanna and 1,200 guests to party for his son


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As billionaire industrialist Mukesh Ambani prepares for the wedding of his son this summer, he is expecting billionaires from around the world, heads of state, and Hollywood and Bollywood royalty to attend the three-day bash in the family’s home town, starting on Friday.

The nearly 1,200-person guestlist includes Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Sunder Pichai, and Ivanka Trump; Indian billionaires Gautam Adani and Kumar Mangalam Birla; and cricketers and Bollywood film stars such as Deepika Padukone, Shah Rukh Khan, Rani Mukherjee, Salman Khan and Sachin Tendulkar, Arijit Singh and Diljeet Dosanjh.

They will be entertained by pop superstar Rihanna, magician David Blaine and famous Bollywood singers.

Ivanka Trump arrives to attend a pre-wedding bash of billionaire industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s son Anant Ambani, in Jamnagar, India (Ajit Solanki/AP)

The party is in Jamnagar, a city of around 600,000 in a near-desert part of Gujarat state. It is the family’s home town, and the home of the main oil refinery of their business empire, Reliance Industries. There will also be traditional ceremonies in a temple complex.

On Wednesday, the Ambani family organised a community food service for 51,000 people living in nearby villages.

Anant Ambani, 28, is set to marry his long-time girlfriend Radhika Merchant, in July. Ms Merchant is the daughter of Viren Merchant, chief executive of Encore Healthcare Pvt Ltd, and entrepreneur Shaila Merchant.

The three-day pre-wedding bash starting on Friday will provide a glimpse of the wedding itself, which is expected in July.

Bollywood actors Ranveer Singh, left, and Deepika Padukone arrive at an airport in Jamnagar, India, to attend the pre-wedding celebrations of Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant (Ajit Solanki/AP)

Guests will visit an animal rescue centre run by Anant Ambani. Known as “Vantara”, meaning “Star Of The Forest,” the 3,000-acre centre houses abused, injured and endangered animals, especially elephants.

The invitation says guests will find a mood board for each day’s dress code, with an army of hair stylists, makeup artists and Indian wear designers at their hotel.

Forbes lists Mukesh Ambani as the richest person in Asia. His Reliance Industries is a massive conglomerate, reporting over 100 billion dollars in annual revenue, with interests ranging from petrochemicals, and oil and gas to telecoms and retail.

Today’s News in 90 Seconds – March 1st

The 66-year-old Mukesh Ambani has begun handing over leadership to his sons and daughter.

Elder son Akash is now chairperson of Reliance Jio; daughter Isha oversees retail; and younger son Anant has been inducted into the new energy business.

The guestlist also includes Mohammed Bin Jassim al Thani, the prime minister of Qatar; Stephen Harper, former Canadian prime minister; and the king and queen of Bhutan.

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