Arun Nayar and Elizabeth Hurley's four-day-long wedding celebrations hit a sour note in Jodhpur with irritated journalists clashing with local police and Hurley-Nayar's private British security guards.
The press has been kept strictly off limits, reportedly because the one-time model and her businessman husband have sold rights to a British magazine. Tempers were frayed by the close of the day's ceremony, and when a journalist banged against the couple's Bentley, police and security guards took it upon themselves to resort to a lathi charge. The journalists responded by storming the barricade at around 9 pm and trekking the one km distance to the main gates of Umaid Bhavan, only to find them barred.
But journalists are not the only people who are miffed. CPM MLA Amara Ram raised the security issue in the Rajasthan assembly.
"All I know about Liz is through the papers. She must be a famous person abroad, but here she is nobody, so how does it matter?" scoffed Bhanwar Singh, a chauffeur hired for the wedding guests.
But there are those who are counting on the wedding boosting tourism in Jodhpur. Umrao Singh Rathore, director of Rajasthan tourism said, "I believe this wedding has generated curiosity among Indians and foreigners alike. Obviously it will helped boost tourism."
Sources said the wedding took place in accordance with Hindu rituals conducted by 11 purohits. This was followed by a reception dinner at Mehrangarh Fort .
Jodhpur's erstwhile maharaja Gaj Singh did not attend. He had left Jodhpur soon after the high-profile couple and their guests arrived.
The party now moves back to Mumbai for some more post wedding parties.
Back in Jodhpur, staff at Umaid Bhavan are looking forward to a well-earned rest. "It's been a very tiring time," said Sanjay Umashankar, the hotel's general manager. "We have hired an additional 120 people to take on routine jobs so that the staff can get some rest."
Now that's one thing nobody is complaining about.