The amount spent on the wedding of the daughter of India’s richest man, how much the bride’s clothes cost, what the invitation boxes contained have been the subject of almost every conversation for the last few weeks. This is a carry-over from the same talk about the two big Bollywood 70mm weddings just a few days earlier. Why they are spending so much, how vulgar such spending is and how this money could have been better spent elsewhere is the one thread that runs through most of these social media forwards, office café talks, metro gossip and drawing room debates. The gasp of middle India horror at this vulgarity is loud and clear.
How much should the very rich spend on themselves? This seems to be the issue at stake. Let’s stay with first principals. Media reports say that India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani spent on his daughter’s wedding anything between ₹100 crore and ₹700 crore. Mukesh Ambani’s net worth, according to Forbes, is $47.3 billion, or ₹3.4 trillion at current exchange rates. This makes his spend between 0.03% to 0.21% of his net worth. The 2018 combined earning of the two movie stars, Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh, who got married to each other, according to Forbes is almost ₹200 crore. Though estimates vary, a conservative number of ₹4 crore spent on their wedding is about 2% of their annual earning. Or they just had to work for slightly over a week to pay for the wedding.