Inside Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant's big Indian wedding

Youngest son of billionaire Mukesh Ambani is all set to tie the knot in a lavish ceremony spread across a number of days

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Celebrations have begun for another Ambani wedding four years after Isha Ambani's star-studded 7 billion rupee nuptials in 2018, which included a performance by Beyonce. Anant Ambani, 27, the youngest son of Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani, one of the world's richest men, is all set to tie the knot in another lavish celebration spread across a number of days.

Anant is set to marry Radhika Merchant, 28. The couple got engaged at a temple in Rajasthan on December 29, surrounded by close family.

"Anant and Radhika have known each other for a few years and today’s ceremony commences the formal journey of their marriage in the coming months. Both families seek the blessings and good wishes of everyone for Radhika and Anant as they start their journey of togetherness," the multinational conglomerate Reliance Industries Limited, owned by Mukesh, said then.

The mehendi ceremony

A pre-wedding celebration, where henna is applied on the bride's hands and feet and on the hands of female members of the bride and groom's families, Anant and Merchant's mehendi ceremony on Tuesday night in Mumbai was as glamorous as they come. The celebration, which usually features plenty of songs and dances, had the bride-to-be dancing to the Bollywood song Ghar More Pardesiya from the film Kalank.

Pink was the predominant colour of the night as Merchant was seen in a custom-made fuchsia lehenga by Indian designer duo Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla.

"Radhika Merchant is the picture of romantic bliss in this custom-made multicolour resham lehenga embroidered with floral booties and mirrors at her mehendi ceremony," the designers shared on Instagram.

The groom's sister, Isha, was also in pink, in an outfit designed by celebrity favourite Anuradha Vakil.

Celebrity stylist Ami Patel, who styled Isha for the event, also shared photos on Instagram.

Isha, 31, who is married to businessman Anand Piramal, gave birth to their twins in December. She also has a twin, Akash, who married Shloka Mehta at a glitzy ceremony in 2019.

Engagement party

Anant Ambani, his fiancee Radhika Merchant and his mother Neeta Ambani, left, outside their home in Mumbai. AP

Celebrations continued on Thursday with an engagement party at Antilia, the Dh3.6bn Ambani home in Mumbai.

Anant and Radhika dressed in their traditional best and greeted and posed for photographers. They were soon joined by the rest of the Ambani family — Mukesh and his wife Neeta; Isha Ambani and her husband Anand; and Akash and his wife Shloka.

The women all wore designs by Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla for the occasion, with bride Radhika choosing a gold lehenga adorned with intricate embroidery and sequins. She completed the look with a thin belt that cinched her waist.

Actor Ranveer Singh and his wife, actress Deepika Padukone, at the party. Reuters

A number of Bollywood stars were also in attendance, also dressed in traditional outfits. Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone added to the glamour while Shah Rukh Khan's wife Gauri Khan arrived with her son Aryan Khan as a date. Shah Rukh, who is currently on a promotional tour for his long-awaited film Pathaan, which will be released on Wednesday, was also at the party but kept a low profile.

Other stars who attended include Akshay Kumar, Sara Ali Khan, John Abraham, Katrina Kaif and Karan Johar. Actor Arjun Kapoor arrived with his father, producer Boney Kapoor, while Aishwarya Rai Bachchan's date for the night was her daughter Aaradhya, 11.

Who is Anant Ambani?

Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant outside the Ambani home, Antilia. AFP

One of the heirs of the Reliance Industries empire, Anant is the youngest of Mukesh and Nita Ambani's three children. A graduate of Brown University in Rhode Island, US, Anant has taken on various roles within his father's business, and is deeply involved with the Indian Premier League, in which Reliance Industries owns the Mumbai Indians team.

He leads Reliance Industries' energy business, is the director of Jio Platforms and was named director of Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd last year.

Anant and his fiancee Merchant have been friends for years, with the couple making a number of joint appearances together, including at Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas's wedding in 2018 as well as at Akash's nuptials in 2019.

Radhika Merchant, left, with the Ambani family: Anant; Nita; Akash; Isha; Anand Piramal, Isha's husband; and Mukesh, at Akash's wedding in Mumbai in 2019. Reuters

Who is Radhika Merchant?

Merchant is the daughter of industrialist Viren Merchant. She is a graduate of politics and economics at New York University.

A member of the board of directors at Encore Healthcare, the company run by her father, she is also known to be an animal lover and is actively involved in animal welfare projects. Merchant is also trained in the South Indian classical dance form Bharatnatyam.

Last year, the Ambanis hosted Merchant's lavish arangetram, the traditional stage debut of an Indian classical dance student. The event was attended by a number of Bollywood stars including Aamir Khan, Ranveer Singh and Salman Khan.

The wedding

Like other Ambani weddings, the coming nuptials of Anant and Merchant is set to be a grand affair, with major Bollywood stars expected to attend as well as politicians and industrialists. While Beyonce performed at sister Isha's wedding, it remains to be seen which A-lister will grace the youngest Ambani's celebrations.

The Ambani family have not revealed the wedding date, but said that the nuptials would take place in the coming months.

Updated: January 23, 2023, 3:44 AM
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