India

Lavish wedding angers cash-strapped Indians

Mr Reddy (left) with his daughter and other family members Image copyright Janardhana Reddy Family
Image caption Janardhana Reddy (left) with his daughter and other family members

The lavish wedding of the daughter of an Indian politician has sparked outrage as millions across the country are in the midst of a cashflow crisis.

The five-day wedding of businessman and ex-state minister G Janardhana Reddy's daughter, Brahmani, is estimated to cost about 5bn rupees ($74m; £59m).

But with gold-plated invitations and Bollywood stars expected to perform, the nuptials have proved controversial.

Critics have described it as an "obscene display of wealth".

The wedding kicked off just days after the Indian government announced it would scrap 500 and 1,000 rupee notes in a crackdown on undeclared wealth, making redundant the vast majority of cash that Indians use on a daily basis. Millions of Indians have been standing in queues in an effort to deposit or exchange the old currency and frustration is widespread.

Image copyright Janardhana Reddy Family

The wedding in numbers

  • Total cost of wedding: 5bn rupees
  • Gold-plated invitation cards, fitted with LCD screens: 10m rupees
  • The bride's wedding sari: 170m rupees
  • Bride's jewellery: 900m rupees
  • 3,000 bouncers and 300 policemen on security duty along with sniffer dogs and bomb squads

Source: Indian media reports


Weddings in India are no exception to India's largely cash-based economy and many payments for wedding services are typically made in cash.

Mr Reddy was quoted as saying that he had mortgaged properties in Bangalore and Singapore to raise money for the wedding and that all payments were made six months ago when the planning started.

It hasn't stopped Indians taking to social media to ridicule the expensive wedding. His political opponents meanwhile have used it to speculate if the prime minister's drive against illegal "black money" would include elites.

A former member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Karnataka state, Mr Reddy recently spent three years in jail on corruption charges, which he denies, and was freed on bail last year.

Image copyright Janardhana Reddy Family
Image caption Sets resembling ancient Hindu temples have been created where ceremonies would be conducted
Image copyright Nilim Dutta
Image copyright Somu Kumar

Preparations at the Bangalore Palace, the sprawling venue, began months in advance and reports said eight Bollywood directors were called on to create sets resembling ancient Hindu temples where the ceremonies would be conducted.

Luxury bullock carts will ferry guests from the palace gates and they will be fed at a village that has been created inside the grounds specifically for the purpose.


The world's most expensive weddings

This wedding may have been expensive, but it is far from being alone. Here are just a few of the world's most expensive weddings.

  • Vanisha Mittal, the daughter of India's second richest man Lakshmi Mittal, married Amit Bhatia in a ceremony rumoured to have cost $74m in 2004. According to Forbes, the family flew 1,000 guests to France for the celebration which began with a party in Versailles.
  • But putting them in the shade are Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales. Their 1981 wedding is thought to have cost about £30m ($37.2m), in today's money closer to £116m. In comparison, their son William's wedding to Kate Middleton cost just £20m, according to the Daily Mail.
  • However, the crown for the world's most expensive wedding may have been taken by a Russian couple. In March, billionaire's son Said Gutseriev wed Khadija Uzhakhovs in Moscow. She is thought to have spent as much as $1.2m on her wedding dress, and, according to MailOnline, guests were kept entertained with performances provided by not one superstar, but three: Jennifer Lopez, Sting and Enrique Iglesias. The cost? Possibly a billion dollars...