First person account from a baraati at Akash Ambani and Shloka Mehta’s wedding.
You rarely see Priyanka Chopra shaking a leg with Aishwarya Rai, with Google CEO Sundar Pichai, former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and the Blairs absolutely in sync with the grand Indian band, baaja, baraat.
What kicked off as a traditional Indian wedding, with groom Akash Ambani paying respects to his grandparents, quickly became a multi-cultural affair with global CEOs landing at Mumbai’s Jio World Centre from far and wide.
The Ambani wedding has been a truly traditional affair with Akash’s parents Nita and Mukesh Ambani invoking gods and performing annadaan for the past few days in Mumbai.
For the young couple Akash and Shloka, daughter of diamantaire Russel Mehta, it’s their big day when they exchange wedding vows in a traditional setting in the mandap perched next to a huge statue of Lord Krishna decked with thousands of flowers and leaves.
Former UK prime minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie joined in the celebrations as Mukesh Ambani shook a leg and Nita Ambani provided the beats with a dholak around her neck.
“It’s truly a global wedding with CEOs from around the world,” said an Indian banker who looked visibly chuffed after shaking the hands of Bank of America-Merrill Lynch global CEO Brian Moynihan. JP Morgan India chief Kalpana Morparia took to the floor with the wife of former ICICI CEO KV Kamath as her boss and JP Morgan’s global chief Jamie Dimon looked on.
The dapper Akash Ambani, atop a black steed, danced the evening away with friends and close relatives, with mother Nita Ambani getting distracted only to lend finesse and final touches to the proceedings. “She’s been planning the wedding for many weeks, very often till the wee hours. In fact, she left the venue at 6 am today, only to return in a couple of hours. Nothing, not even the smallest of details, escapes her attention,” said a close associate who has worked closely with her these past few months.
The groom’s younger brother Anant was seen supervising operations all night and even took a quick horse ride at 4 am to check the steed his brother would mount. Their sister Isha danced furiously with the baraatis. Mukesh Ambani and son-in-law Anand Piramal could do with some lessons from Shiamak Davar — master orchestrator and choreographer — as they let their hair down in an evening of poise, panache and passion.
Bollywood badshah Shah Rukh Khan danced alongside Aamir ‘Dangal’ Khan while the young princeling Ranbir Kapoor yo-yoed along with them to Badtameez Dil…. As the superstars danced, Rajinikanth and Ratan Tata walked in one after the other. The Khans and the Bachchans paid their respects to the original Thalaiva and the doyen of India Inc.
Union ministers Piyush Goyal, Suresh Prabhu, Smriti Irani and Jayant Sinha mixed with the guests as Sachin Tendulkar showed a different kind of delicate footwork with Akash and Anant on the floor.
A musical fountain adorned the heart of the newly-inaugurated Jio World Centre, which boasts of a sprawling 1,60,000 square feet convention centre that has been magically transformed into the wedding venue.
An elegant, traditional and cultural affair, the Ambani wedding promises the high-powered gathering from around the world an elevating experience steeped in Indian values, along with heady cocktail of fun and frolic the traditional, Indian way.