VIPs arrive at pre-wedding bash for daughter of India’s richest man

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Actress Priyanka Chopra and her husband Nick Jonas arrive in Udaipur to attend pre-wedding celebrations of Isha Ambani, daughter of the Chairman of Reliance Industries Mukesh Ambani, in the desert state of Rajasthan, India, December 8, 2018. (REUTERS)
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Actress Priyanka Chopra and her husband Nick Jonas arrive in Udaipur to attend pre-wedding celebrations of Isha Ambani, daughter of the Chairman of Reliance Industries Mukesh Ambani, in the desert state of Rajasthan, India, December 8, 2018. (REUTERS)
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Saudi Arabia's Oil Minister Khalid al-Falih (L) arrives in Udaipur to attend pre-wedding celebrations of Isha Ambani, daughter of the Chairman of Reliance Industries Mukesh Ambani, in the desert state of Rajasthan, India, December 8, 2018. (REUTERS)
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Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton poses with Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries, and his wife Nita Ambani after her arrival in Udaipur to attend pre-wedding celebrations of their daughter Isha Ambani in the desert state of Rajasthan, India, December 8, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 09 December 2018
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VIPs arrive at pre-wedding bash for daughter of India’s richest man

  • The wedding is the latest in a series of high-profile marriages that began last year
  • Indian media have speculated that the guest list includes former US President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary

NEW DELHI: Dozens of chartered planes carrying celebrities, including former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, flew into a sleepy airport in western India for the lavish pre-wedding festivities for the daughter of India’s richest man.
Isha Ambani, 27, daughter of Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, will marry Anand Piramal, 33, in the financial capital of Mumbai next Wednesday, but the celebrations began this weekend in the desert city of Udaipur, with feasts, singing and dancing, and other pre-wedding rituals.
Security was beefed up as the high-profile guests started arriving at Udaipur’s airport, said a source at the scene, who asked not to be identified. Outside, they were awaited by luxury sedans driven by chauffers wearing white uniforms and colorful Rajasthani turbans.
The Clintons and the Ambanis have an association that goes back more than 18 years and have met several times both in India and abroad, according to Indian media reports.
Then President Bill Clinton held meetings in India with the Ambanis, including deceased founder and Mukesh’s father Dhirubhai Ambani, just before and after he left the presidency in 2000-2001.
In March this year, when Hillary Clinton visited India to deliver a keynote speech at a conference in Mumbai, she dined with the Ambanis at their 27-floor Antilia residence — one of the world’s most expensive homes, according to local media.
Many other top industrialists, politicians, sports and Bollywood stars descended in Udaipur on Saturday to join what has been dubbed locally “the big, fat Indian wedding.”
Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar and newly-weds, actress Priyanka Chopra and singer Nick Jonas were among the guests joining the bash.
Former head of advertising giant WPP, Martin Sorrell, BP Group CEO Bob Dudley, Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington, 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch and Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih are also invited.
Guests for the celebrations, which will bring together two of India’s most influential families, have access to an app mapping out the activities, which include a private concert by Beyonce.
Many in India, where millions live in dire poverty, have closely followed the preparations, including the Ivy League-graduate couple’s engagement at the luxury Villa D’Este hotel on Italy’s Lake Como, attended by more than 600 guests, and featuring a private performance by singer John Legend. 


Avengers assemble for final battle in ‘Endgame’

Updated 24 April 2019
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Avengers assemble for final battle in ‘Endgame’

  • “Avengers: Endgame” is the final installment of a wildly ambitious 22-film arc featuring the beloved superheroes of the Marvel universe
  • Pundits are predicting a debut weekend that could break records with the first billion-dollar opening in history

LOS ANGELES: After nearly two dozen films and billions of dollars in ticket sales around the globe, the Avengers are gearing up for a final time — and their last adventure could shatter all box office records.
“Avengers: Endgame” is the final installment of a wildly ambitious 22-film arc featuring the beloved superheroes of the Marvel universe, many of them the creations of late comic book legend Stan Lee.
It hits theaters this week — parts of Asia and Europe get the first view of the three-hour epic on Wednesday, and it gets its wide release in the US and Canada on Friday. Pundits are predicting a debut weekend that could break records with the first billion-dollar opening in history.
That would easily beat out the previous record holder, “Avengers: Infinity War,” the first part of the “Infinity Saga” — as it was dubbed by Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige, who has produced every single movie in the franchise — which opened in 2018 with $640.5 million.
After Monday’s star-studded world premiere in Hollywood, the six original Avengers celebrated the end of the road Tuesday at the iconic TCL Chinese Theatre.
Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) assembled for a final time with Feige at the TCL Chinese Theatre, where they signed blocks of cement and marked them with handprints.
“It’s been an amazing ride,” Ruffalo — who attempted a handstand while waiting for the cement to set — said of the 10-year project.
The 21 preceding films have earned about $19 billion globally, and though “Endgame” marks the end of the current narrative arc, Marvel Studios is far from through.

Even as they mark the end of what Johansson called a “wonderful” experience, Marvel Studios has already announced several new projects: in addition to sequels for “Spider-Man,” “Black Panther” and “Doctor Strange,” there will also be “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” “The Eternals” and “Black Widow,” the second Marvel universe film to give a female character solo top billing.
“The fun thing about an ending is that you eventually get to do a new beginning,” Feige told AFP.
“So yes, there will be a new beginning, but right now, it’s about this combination of 22 movies. That’s what we’re most excited for.”
In preparation for the marvelous cinematic conclusion, “Endgame” directors Joe and Anthony Russo took to Twitter to post a letter to “the greatest fans in the world.”
“This is it,” they wrote. “This is the end. The end of an unprecedented narrative mosaic spanning eleven years and eleven franchises.”
They acknowledged the massive impact that the Avengers series has had on its fans, saying it was for “all of you who have been on this journey with us since the very beginning.”
Fans have been on the edge of their seats for the conclusion, and the cast has been notoriously tight-lipped during the press tour for fear of potential spoilers.
But someone couldn’t wait: on Sunday, five minutes of “Endgame” footage containing crucial plot points from the finale were anonymously posted online, prompting the Russo brothers’ letter.
The brothers concluded their message with an appeal: not to spoil the end of the movie.
“Remember,” the Russo brothers said, “Thanos still demands your silence. #DontSpoilTheEndgame.”