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Splendor and poverty: Star wedding in India with Beyoncé and Clinton
It is wedding season in India and nothing is more important for Indian families than taking care of the children. The main aim is to bring families together who fit together in terms of social class and level in the caste system.
If such a union succeeds, it will be celebrated as extensively as possible. So if you can afford to fly in the biggest pop star on the planet to perform at a pre-wedding party, go for it.
This is what happened at the wedding of Isha Ambani (27) and Anand Piramal (33), the offspring of two of the richest families in India. At a celebration last weekend in a palace in Udaipur, northern India, the US singer Beyoncé performed for 45 minutes. Two ex-US foreign ministers, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, were there and danced to Indian movie hits with Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, as can be seen on a video on social networks.
According to media reports, dozens of private charter flights were organized for hundreds of guests and five luxury hotels in Udaipur were fully rented. There was speculation about spending up to 100 million US dollars (about 88 million euros). That would be two and a half times what the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in England cost.
The wedding on Wednesday did not take place in a palace or castle, but in the 27-story private house of the Ambani family in the entertainment and financial metropolis of Mumbai (formerly Bombay). The luxury tower, dubbed Antilia, reportedly has several helipads, a five-story garage, and a room to let it snow. It was adorned with countless garlands of red, orange, and yellow flowers. Dancers led the wedding procession, the guests drove up in vintage cars, the bride's brothers rode up on horses. Security guards with automatic weapons stood guard.
Indian media offered live tickers for the event and excitedly reported the concentrated celebrities who gradually arrived. In addition to politicians, athletes and fashion designers, this included a whole range of big Bollywood stars such as Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra with her new husband, the US singer Nick Jonas - the couple had only married a few days earlier in India . Some Twitter users scoffed that the wedding made the "Nickyanka" celebrations, which were not exactly small, look shabby.
Others wrote ironically of the marriage of a rich girl to an ordinary boy. Mukesh Ambani, the bride's father, is the richest man in India. The boss and major shareholder of the energy, textiles and mobile communications conglomerate Reliance Industries landed in 19th place in the latest list of the richest people in the world by Forbes magazine. His fortune is estimated to be more than $ 40 billion. The groom's father, the real estate and pharmaceutical magnate Ajay Piramal, comes to a mere 4.3 billion dollars, according to Forbes.
In view of the poverty in India, however, there was also criticism of the pomp. More than half of the country's 1.3 billion people live on less than $ 3.20 a day, according to the World Bank. Many have to make do with even less. The richest 10 percent of the population own more than 60 percent of India's wealth. From their luxury skyscraper in the south of Mumbai, the Ambani family not only has a view of the Arabian Sea, but also of the country's largest slum settlement: Dharavi, known from the film "Slumdog Millionaire".
"Imagine the effect it would have had if Mukesh had donated the billions of rupees he spent on the silly dance and music spectacle and charter flights to social causes," tweeted former diplomat K.C. Singh.
Perhaps with all the fascination for such a splendid wedding, a rethinking is slowly taking place in India. On Thursday, the government of the Delhi capital region announced that it would limit the number of guests and the amount of food at weddings. The Delhi Supreme Court had urged the government to act against the opulence of the celebrations. "That is unacceptable in a city that is experiencing a drinking water crisis and even allegedly starving," it said. (dpa)
Tweet from K.C. Singh
Live blog for the wedding
Instagram post by Beyoncé
Video of Clinton, Kerry and Khan dancing
Mukesh Ambani at Forbes
Ajay Piramal at Forbes
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