Russell Brand minders clash with photographers in India
Bodyguards of British comic-turned-Hollywood star Russell Brand clashed with news photographers in an Indian tiger reserve on Friday, ahead of his wedding to US singer Katy Perry.
Brand was on a jeep safari in Ranthambore National Park in the northern Indian state of Rajasthan when his minders took exception to the proximity of a handful of press photographers following behind in another jeep.
"They stopped in front of us in a forested area, then one of the bodyguards got out, punched our driver and grabbed the car keys," an AFP photographer in the group said.
A scuffle ensued in which two photographers were grabbed and punched by three of Brand's bodyguards and one had his camera flash broken, the AFP photographer said, while another was left with a bloodied face.
"Then they drove off and we were left stranded for 45 minutes until some forestry officials came back with the keys," the photographer said.
The four photographers were with AFP, Reuters, Associated Press and the Hindustan Times newspaper.
Brand's spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
Ranthambore is one of the largest and most popular tiger reserves in India.
Brand and Perry arrived in India on Wednesday, touching down at Mumbai International Airport before catching a flight to the northern state of Rajasthan, where they will reportedly marry this weekend.
Brand was arrested last month for allegedly attacking a photographer at Los Angeles airport and was released on 20,000 dollars bail.
Brand, 35, found fame as a comedian and later as a television and radio presenter.
The hirsute star achieved infamy in Britain when he and fellow celebrity DJ Jonathan Ross were sanctioned by the BBC after making a lurid prank on-air phone call to veteran actor Andrew Sachs.
While Ross was suspended, Brand resigned and has since made a growing name for himself in Hollywood, in films including "Forgetting Sarah Marshall and "Get Him to the Greek."
Brand, a recovering drug and alcohol addict with a reputation as a womaniser, proposed to 25-year-old singer-songwriter Perry while on holiday in India at the start of the year.
The couple are expected to get married at a resort adjoining Ranthambore on Saturday, followed by a reception on Sunday at the luxury Taj Rambagh Palace hotel in Jaipur.
Reported guests include pop princess Rihanna and rap mogul P. Diddy.
© 2010 AFP