India protests Shah Rukh Khan’s detention at US airport
NEW DELHI INDIA on Friday lodged a diplomatic complaint with the United States after Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan said he was detained by US airport immigration officials for 90 minutes.
Khan, 46, who was travelling in a private plane to deliver a speech at Yale University on Thursday evening, said he was held by officials at New York’s White Plains airport.
“Yes it always happens, it’s nice. Whenever I start feeling arrogant about myself, I always take a trip to America,” he joked with students at the Yale event.
“The immigration guys kick the stars out of stardom,” said Khan, who boasted of some small victories when he was questioned under detention, such as fibbing about his height.
“The next time I’m gonna be more adventurous. What colour are you? I’m gonna say white,” Khan said.
It’s not the first time Khan has complained of being targeted in the United States.
In 2009, the Indian cinema legend was detained for two hours at Newark airport in New York, suggesting then that he was singled out as a Muslim. He was released after the intervention of the US embassy. That incident came shortly after Fox Star Studios struck a deal to finance and distribute the film “My Name is Khan”, starring Khan as an Indian Muslim setting out on a journey across the United States.
The film featured the contentious subject of racial profiling after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Reacting to the latest incident, India’s Foreign Minister S M Krishna said he had asked India’s ambassador to Washington to take up the issue with the US authorities.
The US embassy in New Delhi issued a statement late on Friday, apologising for any “inconvenience” that Khan “may have experienced” on his way to Yale University.
Khan, is a heartthrob in movie-mad India having acted in nearly 80 films, including huge box-office hits such as “Om Shanti Om”.
A foreign ministry official in New Delhi said the “repeated” targeting of Khan had to be more than coincidental.
“A mechanical apology is not adequate,” said the official, who declined to be named.