The Danger of Flying While Khan By SRUTHI GOTTIPATI
The Danger of Flying While KhanBy SRUTHI GOTTIPATI
Shah Rukh Khan, India’s Tom Cruise, got detained at an American airport.
Mr. Khan was held back by immigration officials for more than two hourswithout explanation at Westchester County Airport in White Plains, New York, after he arrived with Nita Ambani on her private jet, spokeswoman Shailja Gupta said. The holdup delayed his scheduled appearance at Yale University.
Mr. Khan was detained for the same amount of time back in 2009 at Newark Airport in New Jersey.
“Whenever I start feeling too arrogant about myself I always take a trip to America,” he told students at his lecture at Yale on Thursday with his trademark dimpled smile. Tongue in cheek about immigration officials, he added, “They always ask me how tall I am and I always lie and get away with it and say 5 feet 10 inches. Next time I am getting more adventurous. ‘What color are you?’ I am going to say white.”
Mr. Khan is not the only actor to embark on adventures with U.S. immigration officials. Or even the only Khan.
Aamir Khan, another popular actor, not related to Mr. Khan, was strip searched at a Chicago airport in 2002. Irrfan Khan, who has acted in Hollywood movies, including the Oscar-scooper “Slumdog Millionaire,” wasdetained twice in the past. Irrfan is also not related to the other two Khans. Director Kabir Khan, was reportedly detained at least three times in 2008 while shooting (a film) in the United States.
It’s not just the Khans. Actor Neil Nitin Mukesh was reported to have been grounded by immigration officials at New York airport because “they couldn’t believe he was from India.”
The actor and producer Mammootty, who works in the southern state of Kerala’s movie industry, was questioned at New York’s JFK airport. Media speculated it was because part of his passport name, Mohammad Kutty Ismail Paniparambil, was on the U.S. Homeland Security watch list.
Buff model turned actor John Abraham was detained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation at a New York airport in 2009 for having visited Afghanistan.
Some of these actors have, ironically, performed in films about Muslims facing discrimination in a post 9/11 America: Shah Rukh Khan in “My Name Is Khan”; Irrfan Khan, Mr. Mukesh and Mr. Abraham in “New York”, which Kabir Khan directed.
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