Did Hurley's Indian Wedding Insult Hinduism?

ByABC News
April 10, 2007, 11:58 AM

April 10, 2007 — -- Most couples would expect to go straight from wedding to honeymoon before settling into a life of marital bliss.

Unless you are a celebrity, that is, in which case no ceremony is complete without the sale of one's wedding pictures to the highest bidder.

Presumably that is what Elizabeth Hurley was thinking when she sold pictures of her seven-day Hindu wedding extravaganza for nearly $4 million to UK-based Hello magazine.

Those pictures were also slated to accompany the launch of the magazine's Indian edition.

Unfortunately for the happy couple, the sight of Elizabeth guzzling champagne and kissing her husband was too much for some residents of Jodhpur -- the conservative west Indian town where the wedding was held -- to stomach.

Last month, one of them, 44-year-old Vishnu Khandelwal, sued the couple for allegedly making a mockery of the Hindu faith during their wedding. A court is now deciding whether the case should be prosecuted.

Khandelwal argues that since the twosome were already married once in a Christian ceremony at Sudeley Castle in England, they were actually not eligible for a Hindu wedding.

His case has been taken up by well-known lawyer Hastimal Saraswat, himself no stranger to celebrity, having defended Bollywood megastars Salman Khan and Saif Ali Khan against criminal charges in the past.

This time though Saraswat will be prosecuting Hurley and her husband, Arun Nayar, for what he terms "an attack on Hindu religious sentiments." An Indian court has already begun to hear testimony related to the case, including some from unexpected quarters.

Vinod Nayar, Hurley's father-in-law, called Saraswat soon after legal proceedings commenced.

Saraswat told ABCNEWS.com that "he was initially not inclined to take the call," assuming that Nayar was upset about the charges against his son and daughter-in-law.

But then, Saraswat said, "I discovered that he was in fact really upset about the wedding, about Ms. Hurley's disrespect towards him and towards Hindu traditions at the wedding."