By Ruma Dubey
Remember the landmark Hindi movie, Trishul? Here, the entire premise of the story is built on the angst of Amitabh Bachchan against his father, Sanjeev Kumar, who betrays his mother, Waheeda Rehman. This is not about Amitabh’s anger at being the illegitimate child but more about marriages of convenience. In the movie Sanjeev Kumar lets go of his first love to marry a rich heiress and eventually run a business empire.
There are scores of movies made on this theme of marriages of convenience but in the business world, not just in India, world over, such marriages between business conglomerates is a norm.
Narayana Murthy's son Rohan Murthy married Lakshmi Venu, daughter of TVS Motor CMD, Venu Srinivasan. This was not an arranged marriage but what worked out was probably one of the best combinations in the business world.
This is probably one match where cupid played a big role but mostly such marriages are ‘arranged’ to bring together synergies in their business and keep the wealth within the families. Every father wants his son/daughter to get married to a successful match, so it is but natural that when there is so much wealth at stake, the match had better be right or else the risk is too high. But the kind of ‘connections’ which are made are simply mind boggling and leaves one wondering how such matches are made at all!
Then there is one people which people continue to talk about even three years later – that of Nayantara, daughter of Shyam Kothari and Nina Kothari, with Shamit, son of Shobhana and Shyam Bhatia. Nina Kothari is none other than the daughter of Dhirubhai Ambani; Shobhana Bhatia is daughter of KK Birla and Shyam Bhatia is group CMD of Jubilant group. More recently, Sanjiv Goenka's son Shashwat married Shivika Jhunjhnuwala, daughter of Surya Jhunjhnuwala who heads the Singapore-based Naumi hospitality. And talking about Jhunjhunwala brings to mind the marriage of Rakesh Jhunjhunwala’s nephew with Niharika Agarwal, who hails from the Haldiram family.
Then take this other case. Marriages within the Birla family could run into pages but one which comes to mind immediately is that Aditya Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla who is married to Neerja who is the daughter of SK Kasliwal of S Kumars group. Kumaramangalam’s sister, Vasavadtta is married to Kushagra Bajaj, son of Shishir Bajaj and brother of Rahul Bajaj.
Dabur Group Chairman VC Burman's son Gaurav is married to Lalit Modi's (of IPL fame) stepdaughter Karima. Modi is the son of KK Modi, chairman of Modi Enterprises. Tata group chief, Cyrus Mistry’s sister, Aloo is married to Ratan Tata’s half-brother Noel Tata
There are scores of such marriages - Tanvi Jindal, daughter of Sajjan Jindal is married to Raju Shete, son of Krishna Shete of Radhakrishna group. Kishore Biyani's daughter Ashni Biyani got married to Vedanta Group head Anil Agarwal's nephew Viraj Didwania. And Anil Agarwal’s son Agnivesh Agarwal is married to Puja Bangur, daughter of Hari Mohan Bangur.
Venugopal Dhoot's nephew, Saurabh, married Radhika Singhal, daughter of Sanjay Singhal, chairman of Bhushan Power and Steel. And Dhoot’s son, Anirudh is married to Pooja, daughter of Arvind Poddar of Siyaram Silk Mills. Karan Adani, the son of the king of ports Gautam Adani, recently got married to Paridhi Shroff, the daughter of Cyril Shroff, arguably the biggest name in India's corporate law.
Then there is the marriage of business and politics where Upasna Kamineni, granddaughter of Dr Prathap C Reddy, Founder Chairman Apollo Hospitals Group married Ram Charan Teja, son of actor-turned-politician and megastar of south India K. Chiranjeevi. Pooja Shetty, daughter of Adlabs founder, Manmohan Shetty is married to politician Milind Deora. Veteran Andhra Pradesh Cogress leader T Subbarami Reddy's daughter Pinky is married to V Sanjay Reddy, son of GVK Reddy of the GVK Group. Union minister of state for parliamentary affairs and Chairman of Indian Premier League, Rajeev Shukla is married to Anurradha Prasad, MD of BAG Films and she is the sister of BJP minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad. Surpiya Sule, MP, and daughter of Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, is married to Sadanand Sule, a businessman and son of BR Sule, who was the MD of Mahindra & Mahindra.
In many of these marriages, more than importance to horoscope matching and meeting of the minds, the main criteria is money and the advantages they can garner by marrying within their own. The strength of such mergers is not about a strong marriage but about their companies getting stronger, much ahead of competition and drawing on each other’s synergies.
Industrialists deny such objectives of the marriage and say that they too look for matches the same way that we do. They look within their own communities and alliances often get referred to by friends, who are usually other industrialists. So when they move in this circle of friends and families who are themselves big industrialists, such alliances are bound to happen. They deny allegations that it is all done to give more impetus to their businesses.
Though it is difficult to believe one cannot also not deny the fact that they get alliances as per their own economic standing and hence such marriages are bound to happen.
Yet at the end of all, one cannot help but agree that it was cupid which struck both the sons of India’s richest industrialist – Mukesh and Anil Ambani. Dhirubhai had seen Nita Ambani at a dance performance and he gave her the call next day and asked for her hand for Mukesh, who was smitten by her and it was Nita who took a longer time to say “yes”! And of course, Anil married Tina, who was a film star then. But as one can see, when cupid strikes, it neither see’s the economic standing nor business.
Well, marriages are made in heaven but some do get made on earth!