From Bharatnatyam dancer to becoming most powerful woman in India, extraordinary journey of Shloka Mehta’s mother-in-law Nita Ambani

A lot may have been written about Nita Ambani, the wife of Asia’s richest man Mukesh Ambani and now the mother-in-law of Shloka Mehta. But not many would know how she was chosen to be Mukesh Ambani’s wife. There are similar other facts about Nita Ambani that many may still not be aware of.

Nita Ambani

Nita is the chairman of Reliance Industries’ philanthropic arm Reliance Foundation, which runs philanthropic activities for underprivileged all year around. Here are some unknown facts about India’s richest woman and a sneak peek at her journey from a middle-class Gujarati Bharatnatyam dancer to becoming the most powerful woman in India.


How Nita Ambani became Mukesh Ambani’s wife

Unlike Mukesh Ambani, Nita hailed from a middle-class Gujarati family and was born as Nita Dalal. Her father Ravindrabhai Dalal worked as a senior executive of the Birla group. A graduate in Commerce from Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics, Nita Ambani had started teaching when her destiny brought her in touch with Mukesh Ambani. A trained Bharatnatyam dancer that she was, her performance often took her around the country. It was during one of these performances when Mukesh Ambani’s late father Dhhirubhai Ambani developed a liking for her and decided to make her his elder daughter-in-law. She said yes to the proposal only on a condition that she will be allowed to continue with her teaching job.

She, however, did not join her husband’s business straightaway. In an interview to Times of India, Nita Ambani had said, “For nearly 17 years, I was Mukesh’s wife but chose to stay away.” Driven by her passion to provide quality education in India, she was responsible for setting up of Dhirubhai Ambani International School in 2003. The school has become one of the most sought-after institutions for affluent parents in Mumbai.

When Nita Ambani refused tickets for World Cup match 

In 1987, Nita was still teaching when her company Reliance sponsored that year’s Cricket World Cup. Nita had said in an interview that one of her students’ parents offered her a pair of tickets so that she could watch the match in the stadium. Little did they realise that she was the daughter-in-law of one of India’s richest man Dhirubhai Ambani. However, she refused and was seen seated in the VIP lounge the following day during the match. It was only after this event that it became public knowledge among her students as to who she really was.

Nita Ambani’s philanthropy

Nita Ambani spends quite a lot of time doing charity. She is the chairperson of the Reliance Foundation, which carries out plenty of charity programmes for the underprivileged all through the year. But aside from her official role as the chairperson of Reliance Foundation, she has often been seen visiting centres for specially-abled children with her family members including Shloka Mehta to spend time with them. People close to Nita say that she carries a lot of gift items for those children during her visits. She likes to spend time with them and speak to them in a language that these special children best understand.

Nita Ambani was once told she will never have children

At the age of 23, Nita Ambani was told that she would never be able to become a mother. By her own admission, the news left her devastated because she had longed to become a mother right from her school days. In an interview with IDiva website in 2011, Nita Ambani had opened up about her traumatic experience.

She had said, “A few years after I got married, I was told by the doctors that I would never have children. Even when I was in school, I would write long, copious essays titled, ‘When I’ll be a mother…’ Here I was at the age of 23 being told that I would never conceive. I was shattered. However, with the help of Dr Firuza Parikh, who is one of my closest friends, I first conceived my twins!

Nita Ambani is a dedicated mother and mother-in-law

Nita Ambani has been a dedicated mother and now an equally committed mother-in-law. Post her children’s marriage, she has often been seen accompanying Shloka Mehta to various functions. While out and about with Shloka and her to-be bahu Radhika Merchant, Nita is often seen making sure that they are looked after well. In a recent visit to an art gallery, Nita was seen firmly holding the hands of Shloka and Radhika as they entered the art gallery.

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