Nov 3, 2007

$59 Million Birthday Gift

Ambani Couple

When it comes to size and price, few can beat Mukesh Ambani. Even if it is just a birthday gift. The world's newest richest man and Reliance Industries boss has just gifted himself and his wife, who celebrated her birthday on Thursday, a gift that has a gasp-inducing price tag and requires a Wankhede stadium to park — a Rs 242 crore Airbus 319 corporate jet.

The customised monster-of-a-bird, that should have been delivered in April, rolled into Delhi's Indira Gandhi International airport en route to Mumbai on Thursday morning. This was confirmed by Airbus sources who did not wish to be quoted. A Reliance spokesperson refused to comment.

The Reliance Industries chairman will finally have his office in the sky. After he bought the aircraft, Mukesh got it customised at the Associated Air Centre in Dallas, Texas. It has a state-of-the-art business office and cabin management system for games, music, satellite television and wireless communication. But more interestingly, it has a master bedroom, master lavatory with a range of showers, galleys and a sky bar in the forward lounge complete with mood lighting.

Sources tell us that Mukesh and Neeta celebrated her birthday a night in advance on Wednesday with a very small, very exclusive party at their Mumbai residence. The theme song for the evening was Mera pati Mera Parmeshwar Hai - reported to be one of Neeta’s favourites. And why not? After all the gift he gave her was something any woman would cherish. Using home video footage of Neeta and their children - right from the time the twins were born - he put together a small film that showcased her with the children.

He may have got the idea from Neeta’s gift to him on his 50th birthday earlier this year. Neeta had gifted him a special biopic directed by none other than Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, the director of Rang De Basanti.

The 40-minute film mapped Mukesh’s life after his father’s death and was shown at the special celebrations organised at Reliance’s Jamnagar factory with workers and special invitees in attendance.

For Neeta’s last birthday, Mukesh had thrown what is still remembered as the party of the year. While Britain’s Crown Prince Andrews was a special invitee, the show stealer was Shah Rukh Khan who had danced the night away.

Next year, Mukesh is probably hoping to give his wife a gift most women can only dream of - a 27-storey mansion. The house is currently under construction at Pedder Road and is expected to be ready by next year.