It's not a publicity stunt: SRK

Bollywood superstar wants a streamlined and less cumbersome system

Shah Rukh Khan addressing a press conference at his residence in Mumbai on Tuesday. AFP

His complaint against the Newark’s immigration authorities in the US, however, was exactly, so he perceived, because his name is Khan.

Recalling the incident, Shah Rukh (43) said he was not angry over what had happened there. However, he felt that the airport officials “went a little overboard” with the questioning.

“Your name (Khan) is very common. Can anyone vouch for you to enter here?” was a question he said the immigration officers constantly hurled at him. “It was embarrassing,” the actor said. “I am scared of the authorities and rules, so I try to follow the rules of the country I travel to. Whenever I am in America, I have to report at least two hours in advance while travelling within the country for security reasons. They ask me to take off my clothes and shoes, and I do that. But I never experienced this kind of treatment,” Shah Rukh said.

“There are some routine security measures—they check your finger prints and scan your retina. But the routine security process was not followed. Instead, the authorities asked me bizarre and irrelevant questions,” the actor continued.

“The security of any country is important but caste, religion or race shouldn’t come in the way of security measures. You may call me a mega star, a celebrity, but basically I am just a normal guy. But I am lucky that I have access to friends in the (Indian) consulate whom I could call up. But there are hundreds of others who don’t have this facility.”

Shah Rukh repeatedly denied that his complaint about having been detained was a “publicity stunt” for his forthcoming film. “I hate people who rake up religious issues for their personal gains. I don’t want to sound pompous here but I don’t need publicity to promote my movie. I am too big a star for that,” he asserted.

Larger problem

When his attention was drawn to Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni advocating a tit-for-tat policy with the US, Shah Rukh said her comments indicated that the Government “is looking into the larger problem”.

“If you want to give a tit-for-tat policy to American actors, then call me to ‘frisk’ Angelina Jolie and Megan Fox whenever they are visiting India,” he said.

The actor, however, clarified that the incident would not prevent him from visiting the US again. “I will go to the US when work demands but I will limit my travels,” he said. “I have no complaints against the system but I wish it could be more streamlined and less cumbersome.”

Shah Rukh was detained for about two hours at the airport where he had arrived to attend a South Asian related event in Atlanta City. He was detained after his name flashed on a computer and was asked several questions about the purpose of his visit.
He was released after Congress MP Rajiv Shukla spoke to the authorities in the US and the Indian consulate, which made quick intervention in the matter.

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