Through his daughter’s Rs 55 crore wedding extravaganza here’s how this NRI is helping Kerala

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Seldom has a business tycoon sought to promote his home state as an investment destination through his daughter’s wedding extravaganza. But then, that was exactly what Ravi Pillai, a Kerala born transnational business man and head of the thriving RP Group, did by organising his daughter’s wedding, billed as the costliest and most luxurious wedding ceremony ever to be held in Kerala.

He has brought in guests from over 40 countries for the wedding solemnised at Kollam, his home town, that included CEOs and presidents of global companies, besides numerous Royal family members from the Middle East. Many of them are coming to Kerala for the first time. Ravi Pillai has arranged a week’s stay for them in different exotic destinations in the state so that they get to know the state well and carry sweet memories of the God’s Own Country back home.

Pillai feels that their week-long stay in Kerala would convince them about Kerala’s potential as an investment destination and as a tourism hub. “My main aim is to sell Kerala to them as a destination for their investments,” he told media persons. On his part, Pillai has expressed interest in investing in mineral separation projects in Kerala on a public-private-partnership mode.

Pillai, 62, who has been doing business in the Middle East for the past 35 years, is ranked by Forbes in the World’s Billionaires list at 988 and at 30 in India. His RP Group provides direct employment to 85,000 people, mostly in the Middle-East countries.

Indeed, through his daughter’s marriage, Ravi Pillai has served the cause of selling Kerala abroad better than what the state Tourism Department could do.

Pillai has also turned his daughter’s wedding into an occasion to launch a massive charity programme costing Rs10 crore, benefitting over 10,000 people at places where he has business interests in Kerala. The programme includes financial assistance to cancer patients.

The marriage had all the trappings of a blockbuster movie, with the total expenses unofficially put at around Rs 55 crore. The wedding pandal was constructed on a 350,000 sq ft expanse and was modelled after the royal palaces of Rajasthan by none other than Sabu Cyril, the production designer of box office sensation Bahubali.

The wedding saw the presence of Central and state ministers, top politicians, actors and socialites from across India. The four-day extravaganza also saw a variety of cultural programmes by popular actors and singers.

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