Marissa Bronfman

05.14.12

VANITY FAIR | NITA AMBANI & ANTILIA

Category: Causes, India

The ice-cube-size diamond ring she is wearing today might suggest otherwise, but it’s not unusual to find Nita Ambani in the trenches. In the past years she has built a series of enterprises that are proud success stories in contemporary India, including an international preparatory school, a Premier League cricket team, the nation’s first Braille newspaper in Hindi, and a 400-acre model township that houses 12,000 people and stands adjacent to the world’s largest oil refinery. A 400-bed hospital wing is under construction and plans are proceeding for a world-class university on 1,000 acres of property.

While it is true that all of these undertakings are owned or financed by her husband, Mukesh, the richest person in India and the 19th-richest in the world, Nita has earned respect in her own right throughout the country for her vision, drive, and willingness to get her jeweled and manicured fingers dirty. Lately, she has been referred to as “corporate India’s first lady.”

So it must be a source of frustration that, notwithstanding her accomplishments, the international press remains fixated upon her house.

Yes, that house: Antilia, the recently erected 27-story, 400,000-square-foot Xanadu in Mumbai that she shares with her three children and Mukesh, 54, who is worth $22.3 billion. (After a surge in the Indian stock market in 2007, he was briefly thought to be the world’s richest man.)

Between the time construction commenced, in 2008, and when it was completed, in late 2010, press coverage of the dwelling grew ever more fantastical and rabid. Does it really have its own air-traffic-control system and three heliports? Can it create its own weather? The intrigue peaked last October when The New York Times ran a prominent piece reporting that the family had yet to move in, perhaps due to glitches with respect to Vastu Shastra, the Hindu philosophy that guides directional alignments in architecture to create spiritual harmony. As they have from the beginning, the Ambanis provided no comment. “It’s a private home. There is no reason to discuss it in public,” responded a spokesman for Reliance Industries, Mukesh’s conglomerate and India’s largest private-sector company. The closed-door policy has only piqued the worldwide fascination that has surrounded the edifice.

Click here to read the full article from Vanity Fair.

See more photos from Vanity Fair here.

Tags: , Nita Ambani, Nita Ambani articles, Nita Ambani charity, Nita Ambani cricket, Nita Ambani family, Nita Ambani home, Nita Ambani house, Nita Ambani Mukesh, Premier League Cricket, Vanity Fair, Vanity Fair Ambanis, Vanity Fair Mukesh Ambani, Vanity Fair Nita Ambani, Vanity Fair The Talk of Mumbai, Vanity Fair Xanadu

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