Saturday, November 27, 2010

Awesome Ambani Mansion - first hand!

This appeared in the Times of India this morning. Since it was on the front page, it attracted an insane amount of attention from world media. I was away for the day in Pune... and the calls kept interrupting my much needed break. Are you surprised????

Valhalla? Xanadu? No. It’s Awesome Antilia that’s Mumbai’s newest landmark!

“ This is not a home – it is a statement!” gasped an invitee ( one of eighty hand picked guests), standing on a windy terrace garden in the world’s most expensive private residence. There was shock and awe in his voice. Absolutely no debate there. It is indeed a major statement! The same guest continued, “ Some cities are known for their spectacular airports, Mumbai will be known for this landmark Ambani house, which is bound to become iconic.” It is already one of the most controversial buildings in the world, for reasons that go beyond its unconventional architecture. Mukesh and Nita Ambani played hosts to an interesting mix of people at their lavish housewarming party put together at short notice on the 25th night, in order to pre-empt an anticipated paparazzi attack on Altamount Road on 28th November, where ‘Antilia’ , is located. Smart move. After months of speculation and even published reports last month of the ‘party that never happened’, guests at this super exclusive dinner, were requested not to reveal the date for the official unveiling of the most opulently appointed residence ever created. Rising dramatically, 300 metres above sea level , and built at a staggering cost of over a billion dollars, ‘Antilia’ ( the name is likely to be changed to ‘Anandam’) can be described as the Taj Mahal of the 21st century. Cantilevered and colossal, it easily dominates the skyline of the city. From the exquisite Krishna temple on the ground floor to Mukesh’s personal library on the top floor, it is a staggering feat! As Shekhar Kapur, one of the few Bollywood invitees ( the others being Preity Zinta, Aamir Khan, Karan Johar, Karishma Kapoor and Vidhu Vinod Chopra) commented from the roof ( no, there isn’t going to be a helipad here, the new plan is to transform it into a lush terrace garden), “It’s great to breathe fresh air at this height and leave Mumbai’s pollution down below.” A telling remark that can be read on many levels! From that impressive height and with those panoramic vistas, Mukesh and Nita are clearly the undisputed masters of all they survey – east, west, north, south.
But as the proud owners of this coveted property pointed out, this is their one and only residence, and unlike some other industrialists (nameless, of course!), the Ambanis insist they do not have villas tucked away in exotic destinations across the world. Point taken by Corporate India and critics! Representing the big biz segment Deepak Parekh, Kumarmangalam Birla, Anand Mahindra and Gautam Singhania were seen walking around on the mother of pearl floors and taking in the marble Mughal style canopies in the middle of lotus pools, as the dulcet strains of Rahul Sharma’s santoor wafted across the lawns. “Welcome to India…. welcome to our home,” said Nita to internationally renowned sculptor Anish Kapoor and Yves Carcelle of the luxury brand LVMH. The artists’ community was headed by Satish Gujral (accompanied by the entire Gujral clan), Subhodh Gupta, Atul and Anju Dodiya, Jitesh and Reena Kallat, Bose Krishnamachari ( Nita is keen to support emerging artists). Sipping her favourite red at the bar, Parmeshwar Godrej in trademark black, held court with the likes of Abu Jaani and Sandeep Khosla ( who had designed the traditional chikankaari outfits worn by all the Ambani ladies). Champagne and conversation continued to flow till dinner in the ballroom ( yes – that’s right, ballroom!)was announced by Nita. High speed elevators manned by polite, bandgala–clad attendants, took invitees to what has got to be the biggest, glitziest ballroom in India ( Versailles Palace is a poor cousin!) with a single, dazzling chandelier ( shades to cut the glare recommended!) that covers the entire vast ceiling .Gliding down the gigantic stairway leading to the expansive space, it was possible to believe for one mad moment that we were all at Cinderella’s Ball. Buffet tables ( shudh vegetarian fare) lining one of the unending walls, offered Gujarati specialities along with unusual desserts like ‘sitaphal halwa’. Dominating yet another lawn ( there are three main gardens, plus a bird park) outside the Ballroom, a gigantic Vishnu sculpture by Satish Gupta, looked on benignly at Sachin and Anjali Tendulkar, while Uddhav and Rashmi Thackeray chatted with Hema and Milind Deora.

It was good to see Kokilaben Ambani ( who has an entire floor to herself), arrive in time for dinner, perhaps after attending her other son Anil’s parallel party which was being hosted at the original Ambani residence ‘Seawind’ ( where she also has her own floor). Here’s one mother who has a great deal of commuting ahead of her – just like other Mumbaikars. What great levelers our pot-holed roads are!


bibhash k jha said...

this post demands a pic

Another Kiran In NYC said...

Loved how you mentioned the Parallel party at seawind! Hahahahaha. This should be an episode on an afternoon soap :)

The party and guests sound like major fun and I am sure the residents of Antilla will have mucho happiness in their new home and goodwill shall prevail everywhere.

"Minor" sticking point for me though... the building is a design monstrosity. Truly aesthetic vomit. For all that money, I would have expected something somewhat universally tasteful. That part is seriously sad.

Now I will be quiet and go back to sharpening pencils and jhaadoo lagaoing the studio floor :)

Harman said...

show us the would be wonderful!:)

Anonymous said...

Yes, I am surprised not because it is expensive but because it is a private residence And talks are going on.

(‘Antilia’ ( the name is likely to be changed to ‘Anandam’) can be described as the Taj Mahal of the 21st century.)
Common mam,
There are only Taj
One is in Agra
One is in Apollo Bunder

Madam ji Smile

pdkamath said...

Dear Madam, no structure will become an iconic unless it is identified with people of the land. I believe this will be another Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan's palace. Who will be proud of this so called iconic? Sorry for the negative attitude. Any way one must appreciate the innovative idea.
Good blog post as usual.

Radhika Gupta said...

your words have conveyed the "spectacularity" of Antilia really well!! Now the pics remain to be seen!!

goodluck said...

Once upon a time there lived Mukesh Ambani with his smart wife and 3 kids. And he lived in a highrise called Antilla. He invited select few to witness his house. And he made sure of Shobhaa's presence. And our Shobhaa made sure her readers' glimpsed Antilla through her. Some of us gasped, some just did not. This cannot be compared to Taj Mahal as people are living here. Next what? I would rather like to meet the maids, drivers and other lowly staff. They will have lots of stories to tell.

Anil Kumar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anil Kumar said...

Sorry I was late to comment on your stand on Pamelas assets and IB minitry.

I think that's CHUTTAD argument when you say that because politicians, society in crowded train compartments use abusive language then its perfectly alright to bring the same filthy stuff to your living room in front of the kids and family.

How much did you get paid to stand by this line???

By the same argument you should try to bring up your grand kids with filthiest choicest word when they are 2 year old and as soon as the girls attain puberty they should be encouraged to show their twin assets to give deflection in the hanging thread of old uncles . Whats wrong with that???

Is that what you are communicating Ms. De??

Maddy said...

I read somewhere that you were in the invitee list and wanted to check what you have written.

The indoor might be as you have described,but as Another Kiran NYC said, it is a horrible eye sour from outside.I have seen the pictures of the building.

There was a discussion on this residence in one of the radio stations..that it is the highest energy consuming single residence in the entire world... after all it is his money,he has right to spend whichever way he wants it.

Divya Virmani said...

Would love to see some pics of the house... Have read a lot and infact saw some pics of the house way back in one of the forward emails! I guess they were fake or just irritating forward emails...

Looks like you enjoyed yourself thoroughly at the housewarming, however, I doubt I'd agree w/ the "'hotspot' of Mumbai" statement! If it were a hotspot, it would be open to public but since you clearly mentioned that it is their 'private' villa, I won't be going crazy over the house. All the other biggies own huge mansion's as well.. And yes, agree w/ the exterior of the house, it is weird looking for some reason!

And now... pics please! :P

no signal said...

Why do you cover Ambani's -Nita and Mukesh- in particular? We know you have all-exclusive access but its like bootlikish now.

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nramesh said...

Isn't this also a kind of vulgar display of wealth?

Pooja Rathore said...

It is better they change the name from Antilia to Anandam as the former is numerologically weak
"16" shattered citadel-Not good. whereas "Anandam "is very good , numerologically right-"21" 'Crown of Magi" most fortunate number and number of karmic reward and as it adds to 3 which is also number of India - The place will hold significant status.

cmpershad said...

After Falaknuma, now Antilla ... kya life hai ji :)

Mukesh Bhatia said...

Your discription of d party & the Antilia sounds great. Though this extravagenza doesnt slide through very smoothly. We are not in any Arab kingdoms where the kings are as extravagent.
But still, as a matter of fact, we are proud to have such an Indian, in India.

peternalicia said...

An ostentatious vile insensitive boastful display of wealth at its absolute worst!! have i made my feelings clear?

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