A glitzy Indian wedding for the Ambani family to snarl Mumbai traffic

A glitzy Indian wedding for the Ambani family to snarl Mumbai traffic

By Dhwani Pandya and Aditya Kalra

MUMBAI (Reuters) -When the son of Asia's richest person Mukesh Ambani marries this week, traffic in a key part of Mumbai will literally stop for the four-day extravaganza to be attended by a gamut of VIPs from former British prime ministers to Kim Kardashian.

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 household names.

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 July 12-15.

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.

Other celebrities expected to attend the event include former boxing heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, U.S. wrestling superstar and actor John Cena and actor Jean-Claude Van Damme, according to a source with knowledge of the plans.

From politics, former British Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Boris Johnson and India's Defence Minister Rajnath Singh are set to attend, while the CEO of Saudi Aramco, Amin H Nasser, and Samsung Electronics Chairman Jay Y. Lee will be among those representing the world of business.

Pre-wedding celebrations have also been star-studded. Last week, Justin Bieber performed for hundreds of guests at a private pre-wedding concert and in March, Rihanna sang at a separate three-day event in western Gujarat state.

In May, a pre-nuptial luxury European cruise with 800 guests included 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.

(Reporting by Dhwani Pandya and Aditya Kalra; Additional reporting by Tanvi Mehta and Francis Mascarenhas; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)