The Ambani family at the engagement of Radhika Merchant (third from left) and Anant Ambani (fourth from left) in January 2023
GETTY IMAGES | The Ambani family at the engagement of Radhika Merchant (third from left) and Anant Ambani (fourth from left) in January 2023

Some of the world’s most influential people have arrived in India’s Gujarat state to attend a wedding party thrown by Asia’s richest man.

Mark Zuckerberg, Rihanna and Bill Gates are among the guests at the pre-wedding gala hosted by Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani for his son.

Anant Ambani, 28, is set to marry Radhika Merchant in July.

Bollywood stars including Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan are also at the three-day event in Jamnagar city.

Mukesh Ambani, 66, is currently the world’s 10th richest man with a net worth of $115bn, according to Forbes. Reliance Industries, founded by his father in 1966, is a massive conglomerate that operates in sectors ranging from refining and retail to financial services and telecom.

Anant Ambani is the youngest of his three children, all of whom are on the board of Reliance Industries. The 28-year-old is involved in Reliance’s energy businesses and is on the board of Reliance Foundation.

The extravagant pre-wedding event is in keeping with the Ambani family’s record of hosting lavish wedding parties.

In 2018, pop sensation Beyoncé performed at Mr Ambani’s daughter Isha Ambani’s pre-wedding festivities held in Udaipur city. Former US Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry were among the guests at the event.

A Bloomberg report at the time cited sources who put the cost of Isha’s wedding at $100m – this was denied by a “person close to the family” who said the bill was around $15m.

The current festivities kicked off earlier this week with an event where the Ambani family served food to the local people in Jamnagar.

Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant
Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant at the dinner organised for locals

Some 1,200 guests are attending the pre-wedding party, which is being held in a township in Jamnagar near Reliance’s main oil refinery.

Reuters reported that the guest list includes Indian billionaires Gautam Adani and Kumar Mangalam Birla. Disney CEO Bob Iger is also expected to be at the party, which comes days after his company announced a merger of its India assets with that of Reliance.

Zuckerberg, who is on a busy Asia trip, reached Jamnagar on Thursday. Bill Gates, who arrived in India a couple of days ago, had earlier posted a video of himself having tea made by a local vendor – it later went viral.

Others spotted arriving on Friday include cricketers Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo, and BP CEO Murray Auchincloss.

Other guests expected at the Ambani event include BlackRock co-founder Larry Fink, Alphabet chief executive Sundar Pichai, former Canadian PM Stephen Harper, former Australian PM Kevin Rudd and Ivanka Trump.

Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla
Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla after arriving at Jamnagar

“The guest list appears to have more RSVPs from global corporate titans than the weddings of Mr Ambani’s two older children in 2018 and 2019, underscoring Reliance’s growing clout and role as a conduit to the Indian economy for global tech, media and energy giants,” Bloomberg wrote.

Among the entertainment on offer are performances by Rihanna and illusionist David Blaine.

Guests are also expected to visit a rescue centre in Jamnagar, which is reportedly home to more than 2,000 animals. According to a planning document seen by Reuters, the dress code for this visit is “jungle fever”.