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Arts and Culture

Interrogation of ‘King Khan’ Sparks Outrage

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Posted on Aug 17, 2009

Diplomacy FAIL: Bollywood beefcake Khan was in the States to promote a new film (with a plot that’s since become tragically ironic) when he was detained by officials in Newark.

This has to rank among the more embarrassing airport diplomacy blunders in post-9/11 America: U.S. immigration officials pulled Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh “King” Khan aside for questioning at the Newark Liberty International Airport on Friday, failing to recognize the “King of Bollywood,” thus causing an international stir of a decidedly undesirable sort. —KA

AP via

In Bollywood, his appeal stretches far beyond India and deep into the Muslim world , from Indonesia to the Middle East.

His happy-go-lucky personality on and off camera, his reluctance to take sides in politically charged matters and his “can’t we all just get along?” approach to deep divisions between Muslims and Hindus have made him a defacto ambassador for a global generation striving to overcome ancient hatreds.

Khan initially said his treatment by U.S. authorities left him “angry and humiliated” but later downplayed those comments and described the airport experience as “a procedure that needs to be followed, but an unfortunate procedure.”

Khan told the Times of India on Monday that he didn’t want an apology from the U.S. authorities, he just wanted to go home.

Ironically, Khan was in the U.S. to promote his new film, largely shot in California, about an Indian Muslim with Asperger’s syndrome living in a post-911 America. His character’s anti-social ticks and odd behavior are mistaken by U.S. authorities as suspicious and he’s detained as a suspected terrorist.

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By RootJensen, August 21, 2009 at 4:33 am Link to this comment

Haha yes smile

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anaman51's avatar

By anaman51, August 20, 2009 at 12:46 pm Link to this comment

Root Jensen

The reality is quite simple. If you make a solid, professional, entertaining movie, people will watch it. If you make crap, people will “stay away in droves.” The reason Kahn isn’t recognized by Americans is that Americans don’t watch Bollywood movies.

In production right now is a Bollywood feature film starring, of all people, Chris Kattan, of Saturday Night Live fame. Surprise—-it’s a musical! The title says it all: Peculiar Dancing Boy. Get the drift?

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By aditya, August 20, 2009 at 6:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m an Indian who studies in the USA and I honestly
couldn’t care less is Shah Rukh Khan was stopped at
immigration or not. Rules are rules and must be
followed whether you are the resident Bollywood
superstar or a student coming to the US for your

This issue has mainly been hyped up by the Indian media
which is prone to jingoistic outbursts.

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By RootJensen, August 20, 2009 at 4:38 am Link to this comment

Bollywood is making small waves in the uk,
they’ve had a film festival in Bradford, we had Shilpa
Shetty causing problems in Big(shitty)Brother and much
So they’ve hit England, they obviously think America is
the next step.
But then in England there are attempts to turn us into
an Islamic state from those within, so Bollywood is the
gentle face for us to get used to

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By diamond, August 19, 2009 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment

They also tried to arrest Cat Stevens because he is now a Muslim with a Muslim name. It’s a horrible farce.Especially when you know what Richard Clarke told the 9/11 Commission:

‘In October 2000, the USS Cole was attacked in Yemen. Following the attack, the Principals considered military retaliation. CIA and FBI were, however, unwilling to state that those who had conducted the attack were al Qida or related to the facilities and personnel in Afghanistan’ (9/11 Commission Report, testimony of Richard Clarke, p. 4).

But Clarke goes even further:
‘In retrospect, we know that there was information available to some in the FBI and CIA that al Qida operatives had entered the United States. That information was not shared with the senior FBI counter-terrorism official (Dale Watson) or with me, despite the heightened state of concern in the Counter-terrorism Security Group’ (9/11 Commission Report, testimony of Richard Clarke, p. 4).

Kinda makes you wonder who’s protecting whom from whom.

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By anaman51, August 19, 2009 at 3:10 pm Link to this comment

Who? Apparently there are some who think Bollywood has attained the international stature of Hollywood. I would suspect that Hollywood movies are seen in far more countries, and by far more people, than those made in Bollywood. Having watched part of a Bollywood production myself, I can understand why.

The movies they make are governmentally content-controlled to the point where the final product is just short of being unwatchable to those of us in the West. Those of us who have grown up watching talented actors performing in top-of-the-line, sophisticated productions that cover more topics than singing and dancing practically gag at the simplistic plots in the Bollywood productions.

Most of the Bollywood products include a bizarre mixture of gun violence and endless capering around to music reminiscent of a period in Hollywood dominated by the likes of Busby Berkely. When India’s movie industry accomplishes what our movie industry has, then they can complain about their stars not receiving international recognition.

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By Rodger Lemonde, August 19, 2009 at 7:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Abolish Homeland security. It just doesn’t work.
It’s the Fox news of government agencies. Nasty, arrogant,wrong and of service to no one.

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By "G"utless "W"itless Hitler, August 19, 2009 at 5:25 am Link to this comment

Let me ask you this:  Wouldn’t you be outraged if Brad Pitt got detained in a foreign airport?  I know I sure would.  In fact, I would consider an overt act of agression against the sovereign realm of Abrangelinica!

Please sing along with me while saluting the flag.

And I’m proud to be Abrangelinican,
where the tabloids won’t be stopped
from feeding me all the dirt
on the orphans they’ll adopt.

And I’ll gladly walk out,
once again, on their next big screen train wreck.
‘ Cause there ain’t no doubt I’ve overpayed,
To watch their freaking dreck!

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By RootJensen, August 18, 2009 at 6:15 am Link to this comment

Must agree there, seems more like a publicity stunt

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By mike112769, August 17, 2009 at 5:59 pm Link to this comment

So, it’s no big deal when millions of innocent Americans have to be detained and searched, but it is when a movie star gets the same treatment? What a crock. Who cares if he had to suffer the same indignities that are imposed on everyone else? Couldn’t this space have been used for something actually important?

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