Rihanna suffers wardrobe malfunction in barefoot performance at Indian billionaire’s star-studded party

Rihanna delivers 19-song performance in first ‘real show’ in eight years

Shweta Sharma
Sunday 03 March 2024 12:49 GMT
Rihanna’s India Praise After Electrifying Performance At Ambani Pre-Wedding Gala

A 40-minute performance by pop superstar Rihanna capped off the three-day pre-wedding celebrations for the son of Asia’s richest man, as celebrities and business moguls descended upon western India for the lavish event.

Rihanna performed barefoot on stage for some 1,200 guests in the small town of Jamnagar, Gujarat, with the list of names attending the star-studded event including Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Ivanka Trump and Shah Rukh Khan.

The singer is reported to have billed billionaire Mukesh Ambani some £5m for the performance, which included 19 songs and was described by Rihanna as her first “real show in eight years”. In that period she has only given short but high-profile performances, such as her 15-minute halftime Super Bowl show and her “Lift Me Up” performance at the 2023 Oscars.

Pop icon Rihanna poses for pictures at the Jamnagar airport before flying out of India on Saturday (Reliance/AFP via Getty Images)

Mr Ambani, who previously paid Beyonce to perform at his daughter’s wedding in 2018, is Asia’s richest man and threw the extravagant party as a prenuptial bash four months before the wedding of his youngest son Anant Ambani and his fiancé Radhika Merchant, who will officially tie the knot on 12 July in Mumbai.

Videos of Rihanna’s Saturday night performance were widely shared on social media in India, with her decision to perform barefoot described as a “homage” to the local culture by a source in her team.

“It was a little remake of her Super Bowl performance, which was iconic,” the source told Entertainment Times. “People near the front of the stage were singing along. She performed barefoot, which was an homage to the Indian culture. She didn’t have any wardrobe changes but added a pink cap at the end of her performance.”

Isha Piramal, Anant Ambani, Rihanna, Nita Ambani, Shloka Mehta Ambani, Akash Ambani and Radhika Merchant react on the stage during pre-wedding celebrations of Anant and Radhika (via REUTERS)

The gig included performances of tracks “Consideration,” “Birthday Cake,” “Pose,” “Desperado,” and “Woo”. During her visit, she danced with Bollywood celebrities posed for photographers stationed at the airport, and hugged security officers.

Indian media noted that at some point during her energetic performance, Rihanna suffered a minor wardrobe malfunction, with pictures showing her green dress suffering a small tear on the underarm. She appeared unbothered and invited the whole Ambani family onto the stage, including the bride and groom, at the end of her show.

Mukesh Ambani is the chair of Reliance Industries, one of India’s two largest industrialist conglomerates, enjoying a vast personal fortune estimated at around $115bn (£90bn) and close working relations with the Modi government.

Reliance Industries was founded by Mr Ambani’s father in 1966 and reports over $100bn ((£79bn) in annual revenue, with interests ranging from petrochemicals, and oil and gas to telecoms and retail.

There was controversy around this weekend’s event after the airport at Jamnagar, a small domestic terminal, was granted temporary clearance to host international flights for the 10 days around the Ambani-Merchant party.

Meta chief Mark Zuckerberg (L) with his wife Priscilla Chan attending a three-day pre-wedding celebration in India (Reliance/AFP via Getty Images)

The Indian Air Force also permitted the family access to a sensitive “technical” area at the airport, according to the Hindu, while three government ministries provided resources to set up temporary immigration, customs and quarantine facilities at the airport until 5 March.

To accommodate the thousands of high-profile guests and their entourages, the government almost doubled the size of the Jamnagar passenger terminal from 475 sq mt to 900 sq mt, while bathrooms and other areas were renovated.

Chairperson and founder of the Reliance Foundation Nita Ambani (R), wife of billionaire tycoon Mukesh Ambani speaking to Ivanka Trump (L), (Reliance/AFP via Getty Images)

Alongside celebrities and giants of the business world, the guest list included politicians and past and present heads of the states, including Qatar’s prime minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, the former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd and former prime minister of Canada Stephen Harper.

Saudi Aramco’s chairperson Yasir Al-Rumayyan, Disney CEO Bob Iger, and the chairman of global investment management firm BlackRock Larry Fink were also invited to the event.

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