Anant Ambani-Radhika Merchant wedding to snarl Mumbai traffic

According to police, the four-day event has been deemed a "public event" due to the presence of international and Indian VIPs

Updated - July 10, 2024 01:40 pm IST

Published - July 10, 2024 12:15 pm IST - MUMBAI

Representational image of traffic in Mumbai

Representational image of traffic in Mumbai | Photo Credit: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury

When the son of Asia's richest person Mukesh Ambani gets married in Mumbai this week, traffic in a key part of the city will literally stop for the four-day extravaganza to be attended by celebrities, business elite and politicians.

The wedding of the billionaire's youngest son Anant Ambani, 29, and his long-time girlfriend Radhika Merchant, 29, is the culmination of lavish celebrations throughout the year and according to police, has been deemed a "public event" due to the presence of international and Indian VIPs.

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Raising the ire of locals, roads near the venue — the upmarket Jio World Convention Centre owned by Ambani's Reliance conglomerate in Mumbai's central business district — will be open only for "event vehicles" between 1 p.m. and midnight from July 12 to 15.

And that's despite Mumbai being notorious for its congested traffic, particularly at this time of year during the monsoon season.

Traffic already has slowed around the immediate area around the venue which is being adorned with decorative lights and red flowers. Marigolds and bright yellow lights have also been used to decorate the trees outside Ambani's 27-storey mansion, Antilia, in Mumbai.

Star-studded event

While organisers have been tight-lipped about who will attend, it's expected to be a star-studded event.

Last week, Justin Bieber performed for hundreds of guests at a private pre-wedding concert. The Canadian pop star also had photos taken with the bride and groom who wore haute couture versions of traditional Indian attire.

In March, Rihanna sang at separate three-day pre-wedding celebrations in western Gujarat state. Bill Gates and Meta's Mark Zuckerberg were among the 1,200 guests at that event. And in May, the Ambanis organised a pre-wedding luxury European cruise with 800 guests including Bollywood stars and cricketers.

Videos and photos of recent celebrations — including a video of the Ambani family lip syncing and dancing to a Bollywood song as well as one of Mukesh Ambani and his wife driving along with their grandchildren — have flooded social media and are being extensively covered by Indian media.

Friday's wedding will feature traditional Hindu rituals and the reception will be held over two days. On Monday, there will be a "special reception" for Ambani's household staff, according to a document detailing the plans.

Rajan Mehra, chief executive of Club One Air, said the Ambanis have hired three of his company's Falcon-2000 jets to ferry wedding guests and expects 100 plus private planes to be used for the events.

"The guests are coming from all over and each aircraft will make multiple trips across the country," he said.

For some Mumbai residents, it's all too much with social media buzzing with complaints.

"How can it be a public event? Surprised by special treatment on the pain of normal public," asked one user on X.

"If it is a public event, can I go inside?" asks another.

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