World and Nation

High above India’s poverty, tower will house five of India’s most rich

MUMBAI, India — The newest and most exclusive residential tower for this city’s super rich is a cantilevered sheath of steel and glass soaring 27 floors into the sky. The parking garage fills six levels. Three helipads are on the roof. There are terraces upon terraces, airborne swimming pools and hanging gardens in a Blade Runner-meets-Babylon edifice overlooking India’s most dynamic city.

There are nine elevators, a spa, a 50-seat theater and a grand ballroom. Hundreds of servants and staff are expected to work inside. And now, finally, after several years of planning and construction, the residents are about to move in.

All five of them.

The tower, known as Antilia, is the new home of India’s richest person, Mukesh Ambani, whose $27 billion fortune ranks him among the richest people in the world. And even here in the country’s financial capital, where residents bear daily witness to the stark extremes of Indian wealth and poverty, Ambani’s building is so spectacularly over the top that the city’s already elastic boundaries of excess and disparity are being stretched to new dimensions.

“One family is going to live in that?” said Prahlad Kakkar, an advertising filmmaker and prominent city resident. “Either it is a landmark, or a symbol, or it is Mammon.”

He added: “There is shock and awe — both at the same time.”

Ambani, his wife, Nita, and their three children are expected move into the building after a housewarming party with 200 guests scheduled for Nov. 28. For his part, Ambani has declined to comment about the project and required his designers, decorators and other contractors to sign confidentiality agreements, as if a cone of silence could be erected around a skyscraper rising near the edge of the Arabian Sea.