The son of Asia’s richest man is getting married - his father paid Rihanna to perform at his party

Billionaire industrialist Mukesh Ambani, Anant Ambani, Paula Hurd, and Bill Gates posing for a photograph at a pre-wedding bash of Mukesh Ambani's son Anant in Jamnagar, India
Billionaire industrialist Mukesh Ambani, Anant Ambani, Paula Hurd, and Bill Gates posing for a photograph at a pre-wedding bash of Mukesh Ambani's son Anant in Jamnagar, India Copyright Reliance group via AP Photo
By Anca Ulea with AP
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Rihanna, Mark Zuckerberg, Ivanka Trump and Shah Rukh Khan were among the 1,200 VIP guests at Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s son’s prenuptials over the weekend.

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How do you celebrate your youngest son’s wedding when you’ve got more money than you know what to do with?

For Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s richest man, the answer is throw a massive three-day prenuptial party, invite the world’s rich and famous and even hire superstar Rihanna to perform.

Ambani, a billionaire who runs the industrial conglomerate Reliance Industries, invited tycoons from around the world, along with heads of state and entertainment behemoths to the small western Indian city of Jamnagar for the three-day celebration.

The nearly 1,200-person guest lists included tech magnates like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, Bollywood celebrities like Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone, and business/political families like Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.

The youngest son of Ambani, 28-year-old Anant, will wed his longtime girlfriend Radhika Merchant, 29, in July. Radhika is the daughter of Viren Merchant, the CEO of Encore Healthcare Pvt. Ltd., and entrepreneur Shaila Merchant.

Billionaire industrialist Mukesh Ambani, son Anant and wife Nita, posing for a photograph as guests gather to celebrate Anant's wedding in Jamnagar, India.
Billionaire industrialist Mukesh Ambani, son Anant and wife Nita, posing for a photograph as guests gather to celebrate Anant's wedding in Jamnagar, India.Reliance group via AP Photo

Here’s a breakdown of the weekend’s festivities and who attended the party.

Who was at Anant Ambani’s prenuptial bash?

The star-studded affair saw some of the world’s richest people descend upon Jamnagar in a flurry of private jets.

Former US President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka attended with husband Jared Kushner and their daughter.

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner with their daughter Arabella and Mukesh Ambani.
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner with their daughter Arabella and Mukesh Ambani.AP/AP
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.Reliance group via AP Photo

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg was there with his wife Priscilla Chan.

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan at the pre-wedding bash in Jamnagar, India.
Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan at the pre-wedding bash in Jamnagar, India.Reliance group via AP Photo
Mark Zuckerberg with billionaire industrialist Mukesh Ambani's son Anant Ambani, right, and Radhika Merchant at their pre-wedding bash.
Mark Zuckerberg with billionaire industrialist Mukesh Ambani's son Anant Ambani, right, and Radhika Merchant at their pre-wedding bash.Reliance group via AP Photo

Microsoft founder Bill Gates attended with new girlfriend Paula Hurd, the widow of Oracle CEO Mark Hurd.

Bill Gates and Paula Hurd.
Bill Gates and Paula Hurd.Reliance group via AP Photo
Mark Zuckerberg speaking to Bill Gates and Paula Hurd at the pre-wedding celebrations.
Mark Zuckerberg speaking to Bill Gates and Paula Hurd at the pre-wedding celebrations.Reliance group via AP Photo

Bollywood stars like Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Amir Khan, Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan were also in attendance, with the Khans performing onstage for the guests.

Bollywood stars Ranveer Singh, left and Deepika Padukone arrive at airport to attend the pre-wedding celebrations.
Bollywood stars Ranveer Singh, left and Deepika Padukone arrive at airport to attend the pre-wedding celebrations.Ajit Solanki/AP Photo
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.
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.Reliance group via AP Photo
Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan performing.
Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan performing.Reliance group via AP Photo

Rihanna is rumoured to have been paid $6-9 million to perform at the party, and was seen in numerous videos on social media performing onstage and later dancing as a guest.

Who is Mukesh Ambani?

Mukesh Ambani, 66, is currently the world’s 10th richest man with a net worth of $115 billion (€106 billion), according to Forbes. He is also the richest person in Asia.

His Reliance Industries is a massive conglomerate, reporting over $100 billion (€92 billion) in annual revenue, with interests ranging from petrochemicals, and oil and gas to telecoms and retail.

Mukesh Ambani addressing the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, a business event to attract investments to the Gujarat state, in Gandhinagar, India on 10 January.
Mukesh Ambani addressing the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, a business event to attract investments to the Gujarat state, in Gandhinagar, India on 10 January.Ajit Solanki/AP Photo

The Ambani family owns, among other assets, a 27-story private apartment building, named Antila, worth $1 billion (€921 million) in Mumbai. It has three helipads, a 160-car garage, a private movie theater, a swimming pool, and a fitness center.

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 Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rule after 2014. They say “crony capitalism” in India has helped certain corporations, such as Ambani's, thrive.

It’s not the first time the Ambani family has pulled out all the stops and flaunted their economic and political connections at a lavish party. When Ambani's daughter was married in 2018, Ambani hired Beyoncé to perform at her pre-wedding festivities.

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.

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