The man who is forever finding himself on the wrong side of the law has come up with perhaps the most law-abiding line amid the celebrity hysteria surrounding Shah Rukh Khan’s ordeal at a US airport.


Blame it on his animosity for SRK or just his frankness, Salman Khan’s “not a big deal” comment is easily the sanest reaction around.

“It is not such a big deal; when we go there we too have to go through the security check. There have been no attacks there since 9/11 because of their stringent security measures. I think it (the security check) is a good thing,” Salman said yesterday, within hours of Shah Rukh being detained at Newark Airport and questioned for over two hours.

Compare this with Union minister Ambika Soni’s tit-for-tat solution — “I am of the opinion that the way we are frisked, we should also do the same to them (the Americans)” — and Salman’s stand doesn’t necessarily come out as the lopsided one.

The film industry, especially the SRK camp, was quick to dub Salman’s reaction as his latest attempt to go after Shah Rukh, a regular occurrence ever since the two Khans fought at Katrina Kaif’s birthday party about a year ago.

SRK’s filmmaker friend Karan Johar, whose My Name is Khan starring Shah Rukh deals with racial discrimination in America, admitted to being “shocked and upset”.

Om Shanti Om director Farah Khan called it “lack of knowledge” about “the world’s biggest star” while Juhi Chawla termed it “as absurd as Brad Pitt coming to India, being strip-searched, investigated and interrogated”.

But this is how it’s been for a long time. Even Amitabh Bachchan was questioned at a New York airport many years ago. When he said he was an actor, he was asked if his churidar-kurta was the costume for a shoot.

More recently, Oscar-winner Resul Pookutty was detained at Los Angeles airport while visiting the US for the Academy Awards night. “I was told I was a random pick. They took me to a room and started questioning me,” the sound designer told The Telegraph. “They initially wouldn’t believe I had been nominated for the Oscars but when they heard it was for Slumdog Millionaire, they got all excited and let me go.”

Irrfan Khan, who has done The Namesake and A Mighty Heart — both Hollywood projects — has been detained twice. “Once at New York and once at Los Angeles,” he said. “They don’t care if you are an actor. They just look at your name and pick you for questioning.”

Kabir Khan, who directed New York which is about terrorism and racial profiling in the US, said: “It’s fine to double check the identity of a person but when you take two hours to figure out that the person in front of you is Shah Rukh Khan, there is something seriously wrong in your system.”

Actress Priyanka Chopra, a friend of SRK’s, expressed on Twitter a widely held view: “Its such behavior that fuels hatred racism. SRK’s a world figure for Gods sake. GET REAL!!”

Civil aviation minister Praful Patel said: “We will take the issue with the United States government strongly. Such incidents… we will not accept.”

Not everyone appears upset. Meghnad Desai — an Indian-born economist, British MP and author of books on Indian cinema — joked the whole thing seemed a publicity stunt for My Name is Khan. “The US government was an inadvertent accomplice to 20th Century Fox, which is investing millions in this movie,” he said.

SRK said it wasn’t the first time he had been questioned. “They always do it and it’s odd travelling alone. I have always been worried about travelling to America…. I don’t look like a terrorist going to do anything to the country.”

Most don’t but they all have to go through this. King Khan or just another Khan.

Source: Telegraph India

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