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“It's not a publicity stunt. My film is coming almost nine months later and it's not a matter of pride to be questioned at the airport,” Shahrukh Khan told the reporters.
Recalling the whole incident, SRK said what surprised him was the “bizarre and irrelevant questions” the authorities asked him instead of following the proper security procedure.
“I try to follow the rules of the country I travel to…But I never experienced this kind of treatment. It was embarrassing. There are some routine security measures but that process was not followed. Instead, the authorities asked me bizarre and irrelevant questions,” SRK revealed.
While the superstar was gracious to assert that he has no grouse against the officials at the airport, he still wishes the whole procedure could be made “less cumbersome” and that the authorities could show “a little warmth” towards the people traveling to the US.
On the allegation by the Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh that SRK is blowing the issue out of proportion to publicize his film, the superstar had a satirical response: “Amar Singh ji is unwell. I sincerely wish him good health and may he return with a healthy body and strong mind”.
When told that Salman Khan thinks being detained at a US airport is “no big deal”, SRK said: “Every person has his opinion based on his experiences. Salman is right when he says it’s no big deal because that’s how he feels, not me.”
Reacting to Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni’s view that the visitors from the US should be frisked likewise when they come to India, SRK showed his characteristic humour by saying he’d love to frisk Angelina Jolie and Megan Fox when they visit the country.
Well, his sense of humour
is still intact.
||SRK held at
Newark-NJ airport, questioned
New York: Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan was detained and questioned for two hours at the Newark Airport near here on Saturday.
The 43-year-old actor was detained by immigration officials because his name was part of a common checklist prepared since the 9/11 attacks.
The officials wanted to know why Khan was visiting the U.S. and posed other such questions, after his name popped up on the computer screen at the counter.
He was let off at the intervention of Indian Consulate officials here.
“I was really hassled at the American airport because of my name being Khan... It was absolutely uncalled for... I felt angry and humiliated,” said Khan, who was heading to Chicago to take part in an Independence Day celebration.
“It is a Muslim name and I think the name is common on their checklist,” he said.
In New Delhi, the government took up the issue with the U.S. embassy which said it was ascertaining details about the incident.
U.S. ambassador Timothy J. Roemer described Khan as a “global icon,” who is a welcome guest in America.
The actor said he was told he had a "common name" and hence the questioning was required.
“It was in Newark where I was detained for questioning. It was because they said my name was common to some name that popped up on the computer. They were asking me silly questions like if I knew someone in the US who could vouch for me, if I could give them numbers of people they could get in touch with,” he said.
“I had all the documents; they were asking me where I was going to be staying. I gave the name of FOX people with whom I had finalised a deal a few days ago as contacts. I kept on giving numbers. They wanted to know why I came here,” he said.
Shah Rukh said the officers wanted to check his baggage but since it had not arrived, he was taken to a room where other people were also waiting for a second check on their visa.
He said he sent messages to his home, his secretary and also to Congress MP Rajiv Shukla, who informed the Indian embassy, whose officials came to his rescue.
“I was taken to a room where many people were awaiting a secondary check on visa, most were Asians. In fact many officers were reluctantly vouching for me, some people were asking for autographs and a Pakistani fan even said he knew who I was. But the officers said it was procedure and kept taking numbers from me. They told me you can’t use the phone in this area. I sent a message home and to my secretary and Rajiv Shukla. It took almost two hours. However, they did not take my fingerprints,” he said.
Asked if he felt angry, the actor said he felt bad “for the people in the room”.
THE NAME IS KHAN
The Fox-STAR Studios will finance and distribute the film, reportedly spending Rs 100 crore (Rs 1 billion/$20 million) in the process.
Actress Priyanka Chopra also tweeted, “Shocking, disturbing and downright disgraceful. It’s such behavior that fuels hatred and racism. SRK's a world figure for God’s sake. GET REAL!!”
In an earlier post on Independence Day, Karan wrote, Freedom...underrated...often misused...and always taken for granted...respect it and honour it...today and forever!”
Music director Vishal Dadlani (of Vishal-Shekhar fame) also posted, “This is plain silly!! I mean, a quick internet search would tell them what they need to know about SRK!! Paranoia breeds stupidity, I guess!”
Meanwhile, Shah Rukh told a channel, “The US has developed religious paranoia over the years. My guard was also denied a visa because he has the same last name as mine. They said I can’t use my phone.”
Shah Rukh was detained for over two hours at the Newark airport, New Jersey. He was released after Indian embassy officials vouched for him. He was in the US to attend Independence Day celebrations.
The star, who is currently filming for My Name is Khan, underwent "humiliating" questioning even as he told authorities he was an Indian celebrity. His bodyguards were also grilled.
Several Bollywood celebs are in the US for I-Day celebrations, including Katrina Kaif, Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan.
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