The Wrath of Khan

“Aise waison ko diya hai kaise kaison ko diya hai”

I am sure all of us, at some time or the other, have sat contemplating why so-and-so, possessing such moderate talent have achieved so much in life. While we , infinitely superior in all respects have been able to achieve little in comparison. After much envious sadness and introspection, we have come to the conclusion that when opportunity came knocking so-and-so went for the ball in a fashion we felt was shameless–blowing their horn, elbowing the rest—something which even we could have done if we were as desperate. Not that occupying the dubious moral high ground has caused us any satisfaction over the years. Far from it.

However what whiners call shamelessness, winners call aggressiveness. It is a trait possessed by few. To make the most of opportunities. No matter if that makes them look opportunistic. After all, they are too busy being successful  to notice the hushed whispers and the roll of eyes.

Shahrukh Khan, the Badshah of Bollywood, is one such superman. Not that I would ever dream of ever calling him a moderate talent, after all as argued beautifully he very well may be God. [Read this comment thread, one of the most awesome at RTDM which proves, in the manner of a mathematical proof, His godliness] No I am just saying that SRK has that trait of taking that one step many of us would balk at. Stopped at an US airport for two hours (according to authorities it was sixty five minutes) supposedly based on his religion, he came out with guns blazing repeating that he had been detained because “My Name is Khan“, incidentally the name of his next blockbuster with a theme of, surprise surprise, the racial stereotyping of minorities.

Was SRK stopped because of his religion, this once out of the hundreds of times has been to US since 9/11? [I presume he has not been stopped before else we would have heard him saying in press conferences: “They stopped me because they felt gum at my khushi” or They stopped me chalte chalte” or “They made me take off my shirt and reveal my six packs. I was discriminated everywhere— New York, Paris, San Francisco. Dil mein mere hai dard-e-disco.” or “They “chaked” me out because I was Indian”. ]? Was there something about his papers or something else about the visit this time around which may have set off an alert? Or did he encounter Captain Kirk at the checkpoint who recognizing his old nemesis had a Khannnnnnnnn [Must watch video] meltdown? Or was the officer just a lover of good acting, a part of  the “aesthetic police”? Or was he a Sourav Ganguly fan eager to get his back for IPL 2.0?

We will never know why. But what we do know and must applaud is how SRK immediately after this most distressing experience of being made to wait in a line with mere mortals  used the trauma to create a gigantic buzz about his upcoming movie. Totally free of cost. In the same way he did when he turned up for the T20 World Cup, distributed CDs and promoted “Om Shanti Om”. This is precisely what defines a champion and an achiever, the ability to turn anything into a positive. And of course the ability to be big-hearted. Like his insistence that he did not want an apology from the US government, which is even more remarkable considering that until now no one has shown the slightest intention of giving him any. And like his declaring that though he would prefer to stay in India during Independence Day and not step on US soil, it is the love of his fans in the US (not to speak of their dollars) that brings him to the country.

I know there are some people who feel that if he was really so humiliated then his protest should have been had more teeth. But then again what do you expect him to do? Abandon his career and start a new method of political struggle that would change the world, in the way that another Indian ejected from a Whites-only train once did?

Surely not. No Ki-Ki-Kripp’s Mission for him certainly.

This incident has been instructive for me personally. Like many South Asian origin men with a brown skin coloring (non-Muslim though) who travel internationally, I have endured similar experiences. I for one was pulled out of a line in Copenhagen and then made to empty my purse, show my credit card in front of a Customs officials, smiling in what I felt a very mocking fashion, who then asked me then to explain to them what research I did—-not in a private booth but in front of the entire airport. In Barcelona, I was singled out of a whole 747 (the only thing that distinguished me was I was brown) and made to endure about an hour of a through search of my luggage. I took it in my stride just like everyone else, accepting it as the reality of a post 9-11 world where everybody with my skin color is always a suspect. (As a matter of fact, I would say that the US is the country where I have by and large encountered the most professional and the most courterous of officials—and I have traveled a bit in the ten years I have been here.)

This time of course, inspired by the Khan, if something similar happens, I shall rapidly call a press conference telling one and all how an official pulled me out of the line and kept on telling me:  “May I Hebb Your Attention Pliss” (psst the title of my new book).

Of course I know that no one will care. Not the press. And certainly not the Government of India.  Because I am not what Hon. Minister P Chidambaram would call a “high profile” Indian citizen, the kind who if detained would lead  the Home Minister, the Minister of Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister to react as if Jallianwalah Bagh had just been repeated.

Which brings me to a somber truth.

In India, despite what the constitution says everyone is not equal. The filmstars, the politicians, the cricketers, the bureaucrats, their relatives and their transitive closure are considered to be a class apart for whom everyone has to stand aside, give up their seats and kiss the ground. This is not something that is dictated from above but something we feel from inside. Maybe it is a remnant of colonialism or of having had royal dynasties but we ourselves, the low profile Indians accept that “high profile” Indian citizens deserve special privileges. Of course we extend this special privilege to foreign bigwigs too  (after all they too are VIPs) and as Chidambaram says have “joint secretaries escorting them from the tarmac”.

The problem starts when we expect other countries, like the US for example, to have the same kind of deferential attitude towards our celebrities. Sunil Gavaskar wrote once how when Indian players tour Austalia they are made to stand in airport lines like everyone else whereas when foreign players arrive in India, they are whisked away and officials do all the “menial” work for them. Now in an ideal world, people all over the world would share the Indian’s reverence for foreign people and famous people and most importantly for “famous foreign” people and make exceptions for them.  But alas that is not the case.

And therein lies the crux of the problem. Therein lies the reason for the wrath of Khan.

{picture courtesy here}

177 thoughts on “The Wrath of Khan

  1. Maybe it is what remains of the caste system…. not just colonialism.

  2. Looks like I made the first comment…. so am I getting an iPod….. ?? 😀

  3. second one.. 🙂
    Hi GB
    just for ur info and for ur blogs readers.
    Must read for all

    10 Home Remedies for swineFlu

  4. i guess many more ordinary citizens of the world go thru this same process of screening and never heard of anyone or any article in the newspapers…

    … isn’t the security of the ones own country their first right… i can understand the issue of our previous President, who had valid reason no to be frisked …

    but just asking and verifying details should be fine i guess…

    don’t know what other people feel..

    waiting for others to respond..

  5. Link between his statement and the title of the forthcoming movie is overdone, in my opinion. He just said, “I was stopped because of my last name” and there is more than a grain of truth in it. I have seen it in the case of one of my colleagues. A British muslim, who keeps traveling to middle east on work, he is stopped and questioned for over an hour every time he visits the USA. I have not seen that happen with any of our non-muslim Indian colleagues. I myself have never been questioned for more than 5 minutes at the counter of the dozens of times I have gone there. I don’t think it is all just a coincidence or that there is some problem with the muslim guy’s paperwork every time, etc.

  6. Let a torrent of pop sociology gush forth… let’s see – colonialism, caste system, deference to royalty. Surely there will be many more before the thread dies out.

    Ordinary people know no one gives a damn about their travel travails. When it comes to VIPs, while there obviously is a shameless VIP culture in India, it is media interest that makes it an issue. Obviously, you were none too pleased yourself about being picked out ‘randomly’ and subjected to somewhat demeaning treatment. In SRK’s case, obviously someone wanted to make a story out of how he felt. These things get blown up in the press. Did SRK use it to get publicity? That would call for pure speculation, in my view.

  7. “In SRK’s case, obviously someone wanted to make a story out of how he felt.”

    Maybe SRK himself? No?

  8. Possible, sure. Like I said, if I know someone who will make a story out of it, I might, just to vent my frustration. Or an ego-massage. No benefit of doubt for SRK?

  9. 1. SRK was profiled at the Neward Airport.
    2. The US has thus insulted India
    3. My Name is Khan is distributed by Fox
    4. Fox is an American Company
    5. Let’s all boycott My Name is Khan (by not watching it – don’t worry, it’s not like you will really miss it)

    Are you happy Mr. Khan? 🙂

  10. SRK felt humiliated and he expressed views. He was not interrogated prior while coming to USA so he did not have a opinion before. However I dont understand why is government getting involved, are they serious about this ?
    Even UK does not mind interrogation inspite the special relationship.

  11. This is a Buchanan Conspiracy. 100%. He wanted this swine who flies brought back to ground.
    Jokes apart. You’ve got it right. He is just being opportunistic .. following in the footsteps of Ace Aamir khan. Adopting a social issue before every film

  12. Hello Arnab,

    In spite of the fact that I am perhaps one of Khan’s biggest fans I appreciate the point that you make here. I understand that in India we have a servantile attitude towards people with fair skin and that is not reciprocated by America. But isn’t it standard practice across geographies to at least be informed about ‘dignitaries’ (you like SRK or not, you can’t deny he is an Indian icon) in advance and not ‘detain’ them like any random person. And as much as I would like to believe in equality, the fact is there are stars and icons from various fields and they are given special treatment everywhere. How often is Tom Cruise frisked and detained in Europe or Australia for that matter? The gimmicky statements aside I do feel there was a fair bit of high handedness here.

  13. And had I proof read my comment I wouldn’t have invented ‘servantile’.

  14. Agree to the T…

  15. Don Ayan de Marco August 18, 2009 — 6:24 am

    GB, don’t know whether to agree or disagree with you. But I want to state something that I have observed. I know quite a few people who are NRIs (some of them are my relatives and stay in the States). When they are at home they do all their daily chores by themselves but when they come to India they need a jamadar to clean their bathrooms, a driver to drive them through the market, someone to hold their babies, someone to carry the fish in the polythene packets,etc,etc. I failed to understand this mentality of theirs. Back abroad they have to do all these stuffs themselves. But when they come to India they need people to do their menial stuffs.

  16. GB, most of your connections are overdone and over analyzed. His name, the link with his movies, social/racial and other characteristics, etc. Too much analysis.

    There is a bit of history that explains this.

    In the old days when nautanki parties used to travel from one village or the other dacoits and ‘police’ of noblemen (by and large the same thing today) used to harass them. They would have to pay and perform and generally create a night of fun and revelry for the captors.

    SRK is a modern day traveling nautanki. He must have been stopped by a guy who could not afford a ticket to his shows. He must have made SRK perform in order to verify if he was really SRK for 65 minutes and then let him go. Maybe it was his b’day and he would brag later on that SRK performed exclusively at his b’day. Maybe he was a Salman / Aamir Khan fan.

    SRK would never mention what he did for he doesn’t wish to give ideas to other custom officials.

    Why complicate a simple issue?

  17. Arnab,

    I would like to know one thing..Did SRK call a press conference to announce all his anger and sadness after the incident? On Sunday I saw every news channel here is showing ONE BREAKING NEWS–SRK detained as his name is khan..and how sallu reacted to take revenge after the katrina incident..the khan war is on.. and when yesterday night I switched on the TV..the breaking news was SRK used this incident to promote his forthcoming film..I mean in all these what was SRK saying?..the TOI blog was really nice to describe the poor indian system..but why are we like this..when Hillary Clinton visited this time, all news channels were showing the TAj Mumbai special menu..We gave VIP treatment to madame jolie,Liz hurley,madonna (as if everyone is VIP here as they do much charity in this country!)..then if SRK made a statement after 65 mins..whats so big deal about it?

  18. Err.. Amongst all the serious heavy intellectual discussion I simply have to say that Rajib Roy rocks!!! Thank you GB for providing that holy link that many ignoramuses like me may have missed!

  19. But then why this Kabhi Ho Kabhi Hum about this??? The VIP Culture in India has spoilt these people… Certainly they can’t expect the same from other countries specially USA whose security computer behaves like a screaming banshee at the mention of a Muslim name (Khan in this case) after 9-11. This shows that they care for their citizens… True is the fact that most of the officials use this rather unfairly … But do you really expect that they will rather give a rat’s ass to these presumed VIPs???

  20. Here is why I don’t agree with your sarcastic take on the incident.
    The issue here was not that ‘an Indian celebrity was humiliated’. The issue is that the apologists for oh-so-efficient-and-courteous US immigration officials are completely wrong on this one.
    Why did they take him aside for questioning? Their explanation: his name was ‘common’ and turned up in their terror watchlist (which by now surely must include about half of the world’s population).
    Why did they need to detain him for 2 hrs (65 mins according to them, but it’s his word vs theirs, and frankly from past experience, I don’t see any credibility on either side here to believe one over the other)? Their explanation: checking out whether he was who he said he was, had anybody to vouch for him, etc. etc.
    Now, this is 2009. Any hilbily from rural Virginia with a pc and a reasonably fast net connection will not take more than a minute to determine who this person in front of them is. My search on Google with Shah Rukh Khan turned up more than 700,000 image results and 67,800 video results in less than 0.08 seconds. I presume that it does not take the head of Homeland Security to verify the identity of a person from than many sources.
    It is inconceivable that an immigration official can be so dumb, or so pig-headed that he takes a full sixty five minutes to actually determine that the guy standing in front of him is who he claims to be.

    There are a lot of open questions surrounding this incident. Your joining the dots about his detention and publicity of his forthcoming film sounds extremely contrived and suspiciously like the conspiracy theories one is accustomed to hearing from the likes of Zaid Hamid.
    Here’s a list reproduced from the comments section of one of the innumerable news stories floating about the internet:
    1. SRK said that he was detained for 2 hours while US authorities said that it was only 66mins.

    2. SRK said that he was not allowed to make a phone call until much later and was only allowed 1 phone call. While US authorities said that he was not detained and that he was kept waiting because of mishandled luggage.

    3. Since he wasn’t detained and was waiting for mishandled luggage, then why wasn’t SRK initially allowed to make a phone call?

    4. If he was only allowed 1 phone call then it would mean that he was actually been detained. OItherwise, there woudn’t be such a restriction.

    5. Since when and in which country is it a procedure that a passenger has to be detained when his luggage is mishandled?

    6. By issuing statements that are contradictory to what SRK has said, the US officials are implying that SRK was lying. SRK needs to come out and clarify.

    7. If this is at all going to be dragged further than where it has reached, is video available of his detention? Since US immigration is oh-so-efficient-and-courteous, I’m sure they have this process in place.

  21. GB, as with the subject of cricketers privacy, you are again missing the real issue by concentrating on larger-than-life personality of SRK. The important matter here is the idiocy of racial profiling, not SRK’s personal trauma or perceived humiliation. Your rant, just like several other rants I’ve read, is another typical rant on the lines of – everyone has to undergo so-and-so, so why should our celebrities be exempt? As was the case of Emraan Hashmi’s tryst with apartment-hunting in Mumbai, celebrity cases merely serve to highlight a larger problematic issue. Why not poke fun at the idiocy of US security men detaining someone because of a Muslim name? or ridicule the stupidity of believing that terrorists can be stopped by alert security officers at airports? For crying out loud, 9/11 was not the only terror incident to have happened in the world. People have been killed in suburban trains and public buses in India, but thankfully, our security men don’t racially profile everyone who enters a railway station or detain someone for 2 hours because his name ends with Khan!

    Here’s my take vis-a-vis Sallu’s brilliant observation about tight airport security post-9/11 preventing repeat of terror attacks in U.S.

  22. Yeah, we make a celeberities out of even an ex MLA’s pet dog’s stray bitch. So obviously we’ll take this as a norm…

    Btw, what happened to the planned Mahabharata? It never got made, did it? And Rajib? What happened to him? Why isn’t that stuff on Zee News or even better India TV? This seems to be made for exactly that kind of channel.


  23. “their relatives and their transitive closure”
    — 😀 😀 LoL

    I will use this in my blogs now!

  24. Well said… Wow, some parts are freakishly similar to the direction I was going in…

  25. If SRK gets that biased treatment, we argue doesnt it happen in our own country? If students in Aus gets beaten up, we argue isnt racisn present in our own country?
    Till when will we suffer from such inferiority complex? Every time something wrong happens to us in other countries, we hide behind the excuse that that is acceptable coz we should first set our own country in order. Just because something wrong happens in our own country doesnt justify wrongs done by others on our people.

  26. I completely agree with ssk above.
    Objectivity is fine and dandy, but with Indians of late, especially of the we-are-international-citizens variety, it seems to very rapidly degenerate into self flagellation. The overall attitude seems to be that of embarrasment at being thrust in the limelight, because the status quo of remaining in the background, waiting around for that elusive residential permit, albeit with a rod shoved up their backside once in a while, is much more comfortable.

  27. @ ssk
    Security check.
    What a crime on SRK.

    It it response like SRK’s actually, that cause the inferiority complex.

  28. Nice.

    One correction – Gandhi’s train was not all white. He was first asked to move to the third class after the conductor told him that the first class coach he had a ticket for was all-white (or rather Europeans, to exclude the possibility of albino non-Eurpoeans).

  29. going by all your posts involving srk, i can safely conclude u r biased against him (just as i am , but in his favour) and definitely u have ur reasons. however the issue of this VIP syndrome of common Indians (in terms of treating VIP’s as “VIP”s) and of course of the VIP’s are a misfit in the complement of its closure. u have tried to deal with 2 issues here, one is how ppl like SRK takes all the opportunities without shame and the other of this vip syndrome and there i think ur post got diluted, as neither of these 2 messages were given enough space/scope. it is upto u whether u want to be one more of oh-i-am-so-intellectual-that-i-cant-stand-srk in your highly popular and delightful blog space to attract supportive and non-substancial comments from AlphaQ’s of this world or use it (as u have done so many times before as well) in a focussed way. i am an ardent fan of your blog as well as srk, and i dont mind little dosed of srk-bashing once in a while if it comes with as brilliant a sense of humour as yours, but in my humblest of humble opinion they should not mixed with larger issues in a single post. u may agree with me or not, but consider the last 2 points which i cant resist myself from putting in:
    1. MNIK would be a film with SRK-Kajol together after quite a long time, 8 years. Do you think people of low intellect (who I presume have made srk what he is) need anything more to flock to the cinemas. Although one may argue, there is no harm in publicy, it wont have a -ve effect.(really?)
    2. The film is supposed to be released in Feb’10. 6 months. Isn’t it too long to stay in public memory and surely a person of srk’s business acumen (as his detractors would also gridgingly admit) would understand that. He surely could have made up something later on with his connections, to ensure the lingering effect. But then, who knows he wont.
    especially when evidently a lot of us seems to believe more in the 65 minutes of an US official/dept than the 120 minutes mentioned by him, we have every reason to suspect him.

  30. pardon me for the finite number of typos/grammatical errors/errors coming out of sheer ignorance.

  31. An equally readable piece similar in intent, though quite different structurally , was written by Shobha De in Sunday Times of India, the link of which is here,

    Frankly when I heard of it first, it struck me as a nicely structured promotional campaign.
    “If Aamir can make those multiplex workers dance or shave to his tunes for Ghazini, I can make the U.S. authorities parrot to me. Beat that……”

    “In SRK’s case, obviously someone wanted to make a story out of how he felt.”

    Maybe SRK himself? No?
    No, with a question mark following… is that for somebody trying to sit on the fence between politically correct or incorrect.
    Wonder when Kalam can let go without any fuss, why did some pseudo- news channels had to create some media space for a pseudo super celebrity like SRK.

  32. SRK in his own again!
    “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 just gave a whole new meaning to ‘tit for tat’ 🙂

  33. @sumit,
    no offence, but what is pseudo super celebrity? u mean kalam is an actual super celebrity? How is pseudo-ness defined in the context of celebrity status?

  34. Oh Puhleez! It was definitely a publicity stunt no two ways about it. But GB, my only question is, why have such a problem with it? Its being done by all and sundry, its just the with “king khan” the tamasha is also kingsize…but to give the devil his due he does get way with it! In fact the lack of subtlety here is what makes it tolerable in a way – somehow I prefer it to the hypocrisy of “associations to social causes before every release” as someone here mentioned.

  35. Rubbishing reports that he was trying to promote his upcoming movie My Name Is Khan, he said, “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.”


  36. Me and my friend with NO muslim surname ended up having ‘ssss’ stamped in our boardin passes at every airport in US (our A0 size poster tube did not help either!! As if we were carrying a rocket launcher concealed inside it). At LA airport we were almost tasered. Seriously, my friend walked thru the metal detector while i was taking out my laptop, I had both our boarding passes. My friend has this tendency to move suddenly and real fast. When the large lady who frisked her asked for her boarding pass, she started to walk back to me. The lady goes ‘stop there, no sudden movements’ WITH HER HANDS ON HER TASER. I was so shocked i walked thru the metal detector with my metal hair clip on and it gave a mighty shriek. And what followed was utter mayhem, so we were the last 2 to board the Airtran flight. However we were laughing our heads off until we reached Atlanta from LA.

    Now, should we have called a press conference and done a boo hoo instead? Nah, who would have given a damn.. who would have burnt effigies and flags for us 😦

  37. Would like to add that one cannot demand respect. Respect needs to be earned. We may shower respect on white-skinned individuals for whatever reason. That doesn’t imply that the same individuals will see us in the same light. It would be easier to change ourselves than others.

  38. GB-

    I think everyone has missed out on the most important factor here. The links between Bollywood and the Underworld have been well-established by now. The underworld practically funds half the movies made in Bombay and we are quite familiar with what happened to Sanjay Dutt. Why is no one talking about that angle? If Sanjay Dutt was detained at the airport for 2 hours, no one would mind right? But then, he is also a big movie star who can be googled. We believe, with no real proof, that SRK is innocent and clean. Why should US officials do so?

  39. very hilarious in a sense that you actually wasted a post and contributed to the already hyped story………by the way you are quite famous among the growing intellectual society of India and not a low profile as said in the blog

  40. Of course 1000s of people are pulled up for various reasons…however, it’s SRK this time.

  41. Agree, especially with your closing para:
    My views on the same:
    Soul Search or Strip Search?

  42. @GB – Was expecting a proper analysis of the issue/issues here.

    What you have written, I am almost tempted to call crap.

  43. SRK exaggeratedly promotes his movies that’s true but I seriously don’t believe that this was a promotion act, rather I appreciate the way he handled the situation and just made fun of it in the end. Any one else would get pissed and start speaking crap about his religion and skin tone, creating unnecessary mess.
    But SRK took that with a cool mind and that makes him a nice person individual. In a way he stopped people to use it for another reason of protest and bandh in the country. This made his fans a little bit angry, but looking at SRKs attitude everything melted down.

  44. Just 2 replies.

    @Suhel: But isn’t it standard practice across geographies to at least be informed about ‘dignitaries’ (you like SRK or not, you can’t deny he is an Indian icon) in advance and not ‘detain’ them like any random person.

    No it is not. SRK isnt a dignitary. No diplomatic position. No immunity. Whether he is an icon or not doesnt matter.

    @Karan Kapoor: Thats news to me. SRK went to town saying he was victimized because of his religion and that he would hesitate to come to the US and that he didnt want to stay here. His quasi-conciliatory tone is something he adopted today.

  45. I dont know why people are calling this particular case “racial profiling”.

    They stopped him because of his “Islamic” name and “Khan” as the last name. I am sure Nkumba Khan from Sudan and Azlan Mashkahdov Khan frOm Azerbaijan would have been considered with equal suspicion.

    I think the immigration officials are not trained properly because of aN all-pervading “political-correctness” in US.

    Thats why “brown skinned” people from “South Asia”, most of whom are Hindus and Sikhs get hassled unnecessarily.

    What a screwed up situation. We are getting it from both ends it seems. And by we I mean Hindus and Sikhs.

  46. In a similar incident Kalam cooperated and played down the incident.

    This event has become a minority appeasement opportunity for congress party !

  47. I really like Great Bong’s thoughts on this subject. And I wish to interject with my thoughts too.

    Yeah..yeah…Thanks to American immigration officials, poor SRK found out that he was a mere mortal, just like the other billions who crawl on this planet. Millions of reams of newsprint and hours of TV soundbites are wasted for assuaging such a vain man’s egos.

    Now that SRK has realized that white folks don’t give a sh** about him, he can perhaps stop selling “Men’s Fairness creams”.

    Simply put, SRK is making a mountain out of a molehill. His Highness spends an hour or two at immigration control and acts as though he’s been through Auschwitz.

    But I am amazed at why the media does not make a similar hullabaloo about more important issues facing India especially events that occur on the same day as SRK’s questioning at the airport.

    Will his H.H. Shah Rukh Khan’s loyal media also complain about the “miscreants” who purposely destroyed Lord Krishna’s murti (consecrated image) on Janmashtami day in Ahmedabad and triggered violent riots there, endangering the lives of many?

    Is SRK’s inconvenience worth more news-time than the endangered lives of ordinary Indians?

  48. Two words in your post made my day – “transitive closure.” 🙂

    However, although I agree almost word-by-word with your post (pulicity stunt, VIP treatment etc.), my experience in the US has shown the officers here are extremely stupid, stubborn and pig-headed and their is no evidence that they possess brains. Some clever people made rules for them and they follow like a flock of sheep. Maybe that is the reason they are considered honest and efficient (which they are, no doubt). As someone has said above, a mere Google search would have enabled them to see that the man was saying the truth and it would have saved a lot of time and effort (for the police. I am not concerned about SRK’s time). The fact remains, the security at the Newark airport had firmly thrust their feet down their throats and all they could do later was a silly cover up with arguments about the exact minutes and number of calls allowed.

    To SRK, I can say only this: If you are coming to another person’s house, be prapared to follow the rules he makes for his house. Especially if he’s paying you. As simple as that. Don’t like the rules here? Stay in India.

  49. I am so surprised that such a hoobaloo has been made of a film star.. when our ex-president was stopped ans searched by an airline official, it was a side note on the headlines.. and people quickly forgot!

    I dont think SRK said what he did for publicity.. the guy doesnt need it! But i think, his godly stature… made the media cy foul!!! and its mainly media’s fault for sensationaling this whole deal!!!

    Irfan Khan has faced it, the common man has faced it.. and i think the officials did what they are asked to do! Who says a VVIP cannot be involved in something shady! The due deligence is needed!

  50. Dibakar Das, a reader, forwarded this rather amusing old article.

    I Would Go To US to Drink Pepsi,” says SRK

  51. Who says a VVIP cannot be involved in something shady! The due deligence is needed!


    Have heard that the Musharraf entourage which came to India for the supposed peace talks brought in some terrorists along. Now I am sure the VVIP president of Pakistan was not checked/ questioned.

  52. “…I shall rapidly call a press conference telling one and all how an official pulled me out of the line and kept on telling me: “May I Hebb Your Attention Pliss” (psst the title of my new book).”

    Awesome !!!

    Btw, what Rajib Roy link is the commentor Lisa talking about above?

  53. Anamika, Check out the comment thread on the link I posted “one of the most awesome threads on RTDM” and there you shall see him.

  54. Rishi Khujur –

    A journalist friend of mine keeps bitching about his peers: “Indian Media mein Chutiyon Ki Baarat Hai.” The media hoopla over this non-issue proves it.

    This is a clear case of over-reacting, trying to get the sympathy that people give to “underdogs”. Forget being underdogs, our Indian actors are fake heroes. They haven’t contributed anything substantial to society and yet their egos are bigger than their dicks.

    What does this guy think – that he should be welcomed in the US like he has just returned from the moon? Why shouldn’t the US immigration officer perform his duties? After all, the Sept 11 hijackers sneaked into America and killed 3000 people because of lax immigration procedures, zero background checks and insufficient security screenings. It is obvious that US officials will look closely at people with Arabic/Farsi names on their passports, because people with Chinese, Sanskrit or Italian names DID NOT fly planes into buildings. To an uninformed US officer, an Indian looks somewhat similar to a Middle-Easterner, so there will be some mild inconvenience.

    In SRK’s case, the polite questioning by Immigration/Security officers is not at all humiliation but mild inconvenience, because the procedure is followed for the sake of safety of all the travelers. It is the responsibility of all travelers to cooperate with Immigration/Security officers.

    The same Khan was not ready to stop smoking in front of public/onscreen during IPL, arguing that it’s his birth-right to do whatever he wants. And now, he dares to endanger the lives of many, by complaining about the procedures that protect him and millions of other air-travelers every day.

    If SRK does not like being questioned by airport officials in the US, then he is more than welcome to stay away from visiting America. But will he? All the dollars he makes from Bollywood tamasha shows (in various US cities) are so hard to resist, eh?

  55. hi GB, exceptional piece of writing, very sharp comments. well done! you were spot on about kaminey as well, i thought it was average and formulaic with a bad priyadarshan ending too.

  56. You are too good, GB. I adore SRK, especially for his wit, but I somehow feel this is the ‘begining of the end’ for him.

  57. ufff…my second comment’s disappeared.

  58. Sowmik Sengupta August 18, 2009 — 4:03 pm

    Good post!

    It’s a fact that brown-skins (more particularly Muslims) are subjected to extra-frisking at many international airports. I don’t see any harm in officials detaining Khan, but at the same time I think that guy dragged it unnecessarily.
    SRK converted his personal humiliation into business by promoting his next flick, much like madame Rakhi did a good business out of her personal life through NDTV imagine. Kudos to them.

    On a different note, please check today’s Anandabazar potrika – they have published a news on the untimely demise of Buddha babu’s pet dog. I was in tears when I saw that. Check it out 🙂


  59. Woah! Everyone has a different take on the matter, but I still feel SRK knows very well how something sensational coming out of his mouth will make national news and the point is that consciously or sub-consciously inspite of knowing the repercussions, he chose to vent it out, in the manner he did.

    I, inspite of being a girl, and you would think officials are lenient towards innocent looking girls (wink wink) was stopped and frisked on numerous occasions (am assuming because of my color since there was no other apparent reason) but am given a different treatment in India (because of a foreign visa on the passport and because I am a female) which is not how it should work. There should not be any bias. In spite of the fact, that I felt humiliated (at least my fragile ego did), I still feel that it was justified.

  60. I think Anirban (August 18, 2009 at 2:47 pm ) has got it pretty much right, albeit a few nasty adjectives he used !

  61. @Gaurang Vyas

    Agree with you.

    I have long been aware that media in India is a bunch of “choo..s”.

    The reason I say US immigration officials need better training, is because sometimes they are not able to distinguish between Islamic names and Hindu/Sikh names.

    They often go by the “look” of a person which leads to confusion.
    I feel especially bad for the Sikhs.

    As a community, there cannot be a better history of fighting Islamic Jihad successfully, than that of a Sikh.

    But the poor Sikh fellow is confused as a “Taliban type” Muslim so often. What could be more ironic.

  62. I have not seen any conforming reports as to where exactly was SRK detained …
    My opinion on this matter shall change depending on that …

    Case 1: SRK was detained at the immigration checkpoint
    This one should be protested because there is no reason for immigration authorities in the USA to suspect immigration status of a known celebrity like SRK he’s not going to be there as an illegal immigrant 😛

    Case 2: SRK passed immigration and was detained by Customs
    If this was the case then SRK has defenitely made a huge hue and cry about standard procedures … even celebrities can carry illegal drugs at times and security protocol should be same for everyone civilian and celebrity alike.

  63. Here’s the latest twist :

    Looks like Arnie wants to check the dude out himself. Wonder what Jack Bauer would have said ????

  64. Incidently, when I heard this news for the first time, all I could think of was: what kind of publicity stunt is this to promote a movie, a la April Fool trick?

  65. Any comments on Bob Dylan being picked up in a NJ town cause he was walking, looking at some houses and that the NJ cops didn’t “recognize” him?? How bout them racist cops then??

    Get off your high horses people…

  66. we are so jobless 🙂

    considering he did it for publicity………BULLS EYE

  67. i do think that mr. SRK is intelligent bussiness man he know exactly wat to do at wat moment(except whole kolkata knight riders episode)

  68. I adore the man but he seriously needs to stop acting like a crybaby or a megalomaniac, whichever one he is. Unless of course this is PR for MNIK in which case it’s beyond irritating.

  69. Excellent post. Hits nail right on head. SRK said somewhere that in UK, they take his bags and escort him, possibly the desis who work at the airport. This is what he expects everywhere he goes. By the way, do read this. There is a terrorist who uses the name Shahrukh Khan ( and so there is every reason for SRK’s name to raise a flag.

    Mohan, your friend is a Muslim who as per what you said makes visits to the Middle East. Americans have every right to subject him to extra scrutiny since he fits in perfectly with the profile of those prone to attack the country. If he doesnt like it and if bleeding hearts like you get your thongs in a bunch as a result then the solution is simple. Stay in your own country !

  70. If SRK is a VIP, what about Sanjay Dutt?? Would there be a brouhaha if he was rightfully detained/questioned/denied entry into the USA?

  71. After all, the Sept 11 hijackers sneaked into America and killed 3000 people because of lax immigration procedures, zero background checks and insufficient security screenings.

    They did not have to ‘sneak in’. They spent quite a bit of time in the US and were in the country on proper visas. A few of them were living right next door to an army base. There is a complex web of events there involving intelligence agencies, embassies etc. There is also a history of double agents working ostensibly for agencies like MI5 who were ‘state guests’ (in the UK).

    Immigration were of course just doing their job – as it has been laid down to them. What is needed is a bit more intelligence in how it is done. ‘We have all gone through worse, so he should get over it’ is not an argument. Media will milk it, apparently they are also just doing their job.

  72. Aparna, it’s nice to be able to laugh it off, a sense of humour certainly helps, but that is a scary story. Being tasered is no laughing matter. Gives me the creeps.

  73. GB I think movies, sports, politics, short stories and whatever else you feel and write about is okay but whenever you write about a person rather than a real subject you at times tend to loose objectivity and the message it conveys. Whatever happened to SRK or no matter how he felt about the whole thing or whatever our Congressi servants are saying now does not change anything for the common man in anyway. If it doesnt affect the larger populace in any real sense then why talk about it…publicity stunt or racism what does it really change for any other Indian in any way unless he/she is a SRK lookalike and visits US. why get into that debate? To me the whole thing was inconsequential and ideally shouldnt have been discussed on your blog… if Mr Khan ever goes back to the US again which I am assuming he most likely will, US authorities would not act stupidly and repeat the same mistake…how does it matter to anyone else other than SRK…he gets media bites and gets a guaranteed better treatment fron this time onwards. Also a blog on RTDM…too much i say 😀

  74. Arnad da i hav some que. if u hav time then ans. yos said that SRK did this for is belived and rightly so that indians have very short memory. In this age when there is a big story in every week do u think that they remember this incident to jan 2010 (MNIK probable relesing date)and do u realy think a film of SRK-KAJOL-KJO combo need this kind of publicity. last Year SRK’s Film RNBDJ released without any promotion and become blockbuster. i keno u don’t like SRK but is it compulsory to poke fun of him at any given opportunnity. Sorry to say that bur here u did ‘Virodh Ke liye Virodh’ most of the time i agree what u say but this time best commeny is from “Shubho “

  75. DJ, I do have time to answer your question. Ideally SRK would have liked this controversy to have happened a week before release but things being as they are this is the best he can do. Has it helped? Yes ! With this “controversy” everyone knows what his latest release will be, even people who do not obsessively follow his every move. As any PR person would say any publicity is good publicity.

    Now those who think SRK is God might not think that SRK needs publicity. But he does. He too bleeds. For instance, you mention RNBDJ. You forget another SRK movie that released after it. Yes its called Billu. It was a flop. His Paanchwe Pass also didnt do all that way. So…

    And oh RNBDJ didnt have publicity? Hello??

  76. Rohan,

    Never said that Americans don’t have the right to stop and question anyone they feel like. Just pointed out that Muslims *are* subjected to greater scrutiny there and hence there is nothing wrong in SRK saying that he was stopped because of his last name. My point was, GB linking that statement to his forthcoming release was contrived.


    Good point about taking an hour to establish the identity of someone like SRK. I guess that is why people react more when a celebrity goes through such situations. “If someone like him has to spend an hour to prove that he is who he is, then what about the rest of us”.

  77. Though Amar Singh’s birth place is Azamgarh he spent a major part of his life in kolkata. That is why you and amar singh think alike on SRK issue. Amar said whatever SRK do he do it for publicity. What a great thought of a person who shy away from TV cameras..that is why they say “soop bole to bole chalni kya bole jisme hazar ched”

    on a side note as you know amar singh is in singapur for treatment. After so long treatment he was not recovring that fast. Then someone told the doctors insteade of taking him to OT(operation Theatre) take him to PC(Press Confrence) he is affected from Verbal Dihoria so next day he called Reporters from indian News Channels to singapore. Our channel reporter also went there. By the way i work for everybody’s favourate channel (specially the people of perverted minds)

  78. Mohan, I did not link his statement to his forthcoming release. It was SRK himself who did. The very words.

    “I was really hassled at the American Airport because of my name being Khan …The couple of hours of interrogation wanting to know if I know anyone in America while all around people were vouching for me from India and Pakistan (sic),” the Bollywood superstar said in a statement.

    This was linked to my post (TOI link) and so I am sure you must have read it. Maybe you dont find it odd that he would use the name of his forthcoming movie in his statement but I do. And so do many others.

  79. There is no doubt, that you are biased against Shahrukh Khan. Not that being biased is a problem. It’s your blog, and you express YOUR views.
    Probably the only blog entries of yours that I disagree with are where you do SRK bashing.

    First of all the “my name is khan” thing was over done by the media and not SRK himself.
    And detaining of Asian muslims is a FACT, of course you can’t downplay that. There’s nothing wrong in it to bring it forward. One of my best friends is detained for at least 1 days every time he travels back to US from India. Because his name is Abdul Khan.

  80. accordin to him, the official said his name was common. in that case he believed it was because of his surname. if so, how many simple constructions of the statement are possible conveying the same msg without vaguely quoting the the name of the film?
    It is one thing to say he wrongly expected vip treatment (which i agree to) and another thing to speculate his intentions of consciously using it for film promotion.

  81. gb,

    He used the name of his forthcoming release? He used his own name. As brotish said, apparently the officers also gave him the same reason (that he was detained because of the common surname) and he just repeated it. Another version I had read just had “because of my last name” without specifying the name, but anyway, that doesn’t matter. It is just a way of saying “because I am a Muslim” and I don’t find anything wrong with it, as it reflects the reality. Before the media brought up the issue of publicity stunt, I doubt anyone who doesn’t obsessively follow his forthcoming releases would have found the link between his statement and the movie name, so if it was a publicity stunt, it was a futile one.

  82. Interesting article that I have found at Rediff :-

    Now what does people have to say about this ??

  83. Why are we forgetting about the incident where APJ Abdul Kalam was frisked at an airport ??? If anybody was a VVVVIP then it should be this man and yet he was humble enough to allow himself to be frisked … We all tend to forget the issue of security which this VIP has realised and allowed himself to be frisked without the slightest hesitation at an airport…


    Earlier, Shah Rukh said, “The US has developed religious paranoia over the years. My guard was also denied a visa because he has the same last name as mine.”
    They said I have a common name which is causing the delay, checked my bags… I felt angry and humiliated”

    Two places where he just referred to “my (last) name” instead of saying “My Name is Khan”. Wonder how many millions of dollars worth of publicity he lost out on by those two statements.

  85. But he had already made his point. Only those that arent exactly bright or those that refuse to accept the truth need to be told again and again, dont they?

    As to “He used the name of his forthcoming release?” Yes. He absolutely did.

  86. Hey … The ‘Tit for Tat’ comment was made by Ambika Soni, as reported on TOI!Also read someplace that Neil Nitin Nukesh was ‘detained’ at some airport in the US for being way to fair complexioned for an Indian!

  87. @Greatbong – fair enough, and I think you should agree that SRK has been most gracious in his interview here –

  88. @ G.B
    I think the best part of this writing was the link to you 2005 Mahbharat blog. Pleasantly surprised to see JaiArjun/Jabberwok. It is aRajib Roy who takes the cake/biscuits/bakery!! Plz get Rajib Roy back, wherever he is!

    “Rajib! Your Shahrukh’s /Lord Krishna’s needs you here. Only you can make the ‘non-believers see the true God.”

  89. @ brotish
    I replied to your “pseudo-super celebrity ” arguments yesterday only, but it seems, it got lost in transit. Anyways,
    Maybe by now, your doubts have been answered by the following comments , but just in case , consider this
    “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.”
    That’s what I call being a pseudo super-celebrity.
    You know , when Kalam was frisked? In April , and the grapevines started buzzing only in June. But in Shahrukh’s case, it was as if all the news channels had an aakashvaani that hop on, here is a story.
    That’s what I call being a pseudo super-celebrity.
    Untill now , I though that it is mainly the contribution of the several news-cum- nautanki channels we have , but when Mr. Big Loud Mouth starts giving benedictions like the one above and says that he expects no apology from Uncle Sam, he starts to come across as being too eager and then one starts to doubt his intentions.
    And, I don’t know, if Kalam is a super celebrity or not; I leave that to your own good judgment, but please don’t try to insult my (and possibly yours) intelligence by assuming that a naach -gaane waala (which SRK basically is , though a good one at that) is more important a person than someone who is looked upto by almost all and sundry.

  90. Most of the arguments used to bash SRK are nutty, completely lacking in objectivity, based on assumptions, presumptions, personal biases, prejudices and speculations.

    “Any comments on Bob Dylan being picked up in a NJ town cause he was walking, looking at some houses and that the NJ cops didn’t “recognize” him?? How bout them racist cops then??”

    So do two wrongs make a right? If you visit any american forum where this topic has been discussed, you will find americans castigating and poking fun at the idiot cops and also despairing at the state of affairs where a person can be picked up and questioned merely for walking the streets.

    “I adore the man but he seriously needs to stop acting like a crybaby or a megalomaniac, whichever one he is.”

    When non-celebrities complain about unfair treatment at US airports through personal blogs, do you accuse them of being crybabies or megalomaniacs? Most of the times, bloggers get sympathy from their readers who add their own experiences of high-handedness and stupidity of security men at US airports. But of course, SRK being a celebrity should swallow his pride and keep mum to avoid being being accused of megalomania by bloggers..bah!! Using your criteria of what makes one a crybaby, almost everyone here who is castigating SRK should be called a crybaby for whining about SRK getting so much

    “Americans have every right to subject him to extra scrutiny since he fits in perfectly with the profile of those prone to attack the country. If he doesnt like it and if bleeding hearts like you get your thongs in a bunch as a result then the solution is simple. Stay in your own country !”

    Yeah right. Americans have a right to be pig-headed idiots lacking common sense to google search his name when he identified himself as a popular movie star, but an intelligent guy like SRK doesn’t have a right to object and use his power and influence to expose their idiocy to the entire world.. As for your advice that he should stay in his own country, I would like to remind you that US has become the most powerful country in the world by poking its long nose in the affairs of other countries. Millions have died in Iraq and elsewhere because americans believe they have god-given right to invade and occupy any country whose politicians refuse to be their puppets!

  91. gb,

    hmm.. selective snipping. I said he used his own name. And given that what he used wasn’t exactly the movie title and in two other places he just referred to “my name” without bringing in “Khan”, isn’t it likely that the reference to Khan in that one instance was more a reference to his name (and implicitly his religion) rather than a reference to his upcoming movie?

  92. Its amusing to see so many people lashing out at SRK for merely expressing his opinion. Did he say that he deserves VIP treatment? On the contrary, he pointed out that if someone like him who despite being so well-known can be treated in such a callous manner, how much worse things might be for non-celebrities.

    “And, I don’t know, if Kalam is a super celebrity or not; I leave that to your own good judgment, but please don’t try to insult my (and possibly yours) intelligence by assuming that a naach -gaane waala (which SRK basically is , though a good one at that) is more important a person than someone who is looked upto by almost all and sundry.”

    So are you saying SRK shouldn’t have talked about the incident, because a ‘more-important’ person like Kalam kept quiet about it? What has relative importance or non-importance of someone has to do with the act of protesting against unfair treatment? Do you take every decision or react to every situation, based on how someone ‘more important’ than you reacted in a similar situation? lol

  93. Karthik Krishnan August 19, 2009 — 7:12 am

    I like your brand of humour , but I think this post and comment section did not seem very different.

    Well one thing seems common all my favorite bloggers Greatbong, Amit Varma , Prem Panicker and Krish Ashok seem to have one thing in common, Hate for SRK.

    To each his own , I have nothing to say on the issue of detention as I am a constant “SSSS” case and too numb to even ask why me and by no means the the TSA is a polite (or at lease a poor Indian like me defines polite)

  94. Don Ayan de Marco August 19, 2009 — 7:13 am

    Ok so what is the big deal even if he did it for publicity? Even God & Satan needs publicity. SRK is a mere mortal. Although Rajib ‘Langdon’ Roy may not agree with me.

  95. I guess GB was waiting for an opportunity to vent his ‘I hate SRK’ spiel again. Despite all that is written about…it’s all just speculation that SRK did what he did to get publicity for a movie that is still a long way away.
    Like someone mentioned…just because Mr Kalam ‘the-one-who-is-loved-by-all-and-sundry’ doesn’t make it an issue does not mean one another person can’t speak out.
    As I see it…more than SRK, the media went to town about it. I mean the Emraan Hashmi episode did not get this amount of space either in the media or elsewhere – not even at RTDM, even though the cases were somewhat similar…but I guess SRK bashing gets the clan together for a look-at-why-I-hate-SRK sessions more…

  96. GB, I think u got it wrong here. I am no SRK fan but I honestly don’t think SRK NEEDS this sort of publicity, that too, nine months before the said film releases. Unless u live under a rock , SRK films are big news as it is.
    Then again, the complaints aren’t against the entire American nation but that one solitary officer who detained SRK on no pretext. Just bcoz other people face worse and nobody cares about tht, doesnt mean wht was done to SRK is right.
    I read that there were a number of officials at the same airport who had heard of SRK and saw no reason to detain him. SRKs papers were in order, one phone call and the matter(though there was none) would have been through. But yet the one pig headed american sought to keep SRK detained for 65 mins..
    I got to agree it was because his name was Khan.

  97. @esbee
    I always knew that there will be people who will say like, Hrishikesh Kanitkar is more important to Indian cricket than Sachin coz the former hit a winning boundary against Pak in a cup final in 1998 which the latter has never done . Precisely for the very same reason , I said Mr. Kalam, loved by almost all and sundry.
    Today morning I saw an SRK interview on TV in which he explicitly said that obviously the US person did not know him otherwise, he might not have stopped him. Now , if what you say is correct I really don’t know which side of the rope is Mr So Important Khan is trying to hold on to.

    I would like to clarify that my last comment was meant to be seen in conjugation with a comment from Mr.brotish and even if it is not I would say,
    If someone has to learn to how to comply with somebody doing his job from Mr. Kalam , so be it .
    If someone has to learn humility and how to keep things in perspective from Mr. Kalam, so be it .
    If someone has to learn how not to blow things out of proportion from Mr. Kalam , then so be it.

  98. @Dexter: If SRK was indeed stopped at Customs (and not immigration), then the given reason – his baggage having been mishandled – may make eminent sense, celebrity or not it may be standard procedure.

    @Don (1st comment): Yes, I’ve seen the trend too. I’ve been exposed to a no. of people living outside India, including in developed countries. I once refused to apply for a position in Geneva (now, now, that’s not chest puffing) because my non-India colleague already working there had described to me in graphic detail all the paraphernelia of living in any developed country like that. And frankly speaking I didn’t like that. Point is – people have to work on their own all the time there. So no NRIs should behave like princes when here.

    As to travel inconveniences, we’ve all been through that – US or not. Part of the perils of international travel. Threatened of being deported in Malawi, asked for bribe by immigration desk official in Sierra, open bag checking in Kenya (different problem: corruption). So the traveller should be prepared for anything, but of course has a right to complain if subjected to it.

    And talking of same treatment to ‘visitors’, most foreign ‘celebrities’ would faint if made to stand in serpentine queues at India airport for hours jostlilng, much less wait in airconditioned cabins.

  99. @sumit,
    responding to your explanation on pseudo-super-celebrity status, firstly thanks for taking the trouble of explaining, secondly no i did not get the explanation from other comments, which is possibly due to my lack of intelligence.
    however, i thught we were discussing super-celebrity and not Important person as mentioned by you. of course being a scholar of that level and a former president he is definitely more important than srk in terms of sovereign honour of india, yes. but celebrity??? i dont think kalam would be mobbed anytime he steps into public in india. srk does. agreed, ppl who do these stuff are nowhere your intelligence level, but celebrity status does not take that into consideration. I am sure you are doing something much more important than nacha-gaana going by the way you have summarized his profession portraying a classic case of the first line of this post. pray u become an important person in life urself 😉

  100. @sumit,
    i am waiting man…FIRE!!! 🙂

  101. @Sumit – I find the comparison with Kalam’s case ridiculous. At the worst, the staff of Continental Airlines can be blamed for ignorance about VVIP protocols. How can regular frisking, which everyone has to undergo at every mall or multiplex in India, be compared to detainment/arrest for 2 hours on the basis of a Muslim name?

    Whether SRK protested out of exaggerated self-importance or not is not really an issue. How can you deny him or anyone the right to complain/protest against a perceived discrimination based on religion or nationality? Perhaps those who meekly surrender their rights and suffer indignity without protesting lack self-respect..

    I’m amazed at the double-standards some of you exhibit. How many of you wouldn’t get pissed off if you were detained or arrested by cops for no fault of yours? Wouldn’t you rant about it to everyone who cared to listen to you? Wouldn’t you blog about it? If you can get so angry over SRK getting so much news coverage on this issue, it is doubtful you will be able to maintain a sage-like equanimity if you face a similar situation.

  102. GB, I think legends like Rajib Roy and Kishore make your blog even more exciting to follow! Anyway, here’s the latest on Himesh — apparently he has undergone voice surgery:

  103. gb…please delete the previous commetns as it got posted while I was typing.

    @ Essbee

    Chill out. I think you are missing the point.

    My vehicle was once searched by bomb squad for 2 hours while entering the US Capitol building to make a presentation to US lawmakers on “HOW TO DEAL WITH JIHADI TERRORISM”.
    Isnt that funny?

    They trust me enough to hear me talk about how to deal with Jihad, yet they dont trust me enough so as to allow me in without a thorough check.

    That is because they have a mandate to do so and are just doing their duty.

    Actually while the search was going on, the gaurds on duty and me were having a discussion on terrorism itself.

    I think that this SRK incident should teach the Indian Government a lesson.

  104. 1. spelling mistake…i think its thorough search not through.
    2. you are right about one thing…of course it wont be a big fuss if you are profiled…isnt that obvious? if some racist rants aginat a black guy its a usual thing (esp down south)…but when michael richards does it, its a big thing!
    3. stop the nonsense about how rich and famous are treated differently in India…..Bush, Cheney, Michael Richards, Mel Gibson, OJ and im not even going to the CEOs of the the busted banks…. the list is endless in US itself where famous people have gotten away with everything from bigotry, treason, fraud and murder. So please shut your piehole! (sondeshole…if you prefer
    4. to all shahrukh fans….I hate that guy as much as greatbong and have never seen any of his movies after getting tortured during Kuch Kuch Hota hai… please dont count me in…lol

  105. And oh I dont hate Shahrukh Khan at all. I just feel he is an actor who once had promise but refused to grow as an artist with an enviable capacity for self-promotion and PR.

    Once again famous people inside the US are not, by and large, treated differently at airports or by law enforcement agencies.

  106. @Deb,

    In your list, you forgot to mention the gang of suitcase snatchers who operate with impunity at Rome Airport (with the possible connivance of the local police and airport officals). 😉

  107. @Rishi Khujur,

    Come again? You were where? presenting what? to whom? Holy Spit …

  108. Another thing….anyone who has stayed in US for a while will vouch for the fact [edited by GB]…considering it would not have been hard to ascertain his identity etc……but as shahrukh himself has said…achhe logon ke saath hamesha accha hota hai….meaning…morons always bump into morons…

  109. @ bengalvoice
    Please see my post above

  110. Okay guys, no more fighting pleeeej. Here’s something that we can all agree on and celebrate…..Speaking of Khans, there’s another one in today’s news.

    Imran Khan, Benazir Bhutto were an item, claims book

    And by just taking one look at Benazir’s MILF photograph , we know why Imran went down under.

  111. Famous people inside the US are not, by and large, treated differently by law enforcement agencies….lol….dream on!
    And hate shahrukh…meaning his ‘work’…why should I or you hate him any other way?…we dont know him do we??

  112. And please drop this ‘by and large’.BS….are you planning to run for office or something??

  113. I am pretty impressed with the comments, seriously. No trash no personal comments, no Dada kondke jokes. So keep them coming.
    On the post itself, I don’t agree with GB’s perspective and that’s all I have to say about that.

  114. Many SRK groupies go ballistic when their lord and master goes through public scrutiny or gets criticised…. jaisa ustad, waisa shagird…

  115. California Governor and Hollywood star Arnold Schwarzenegger has invited King Khan Shah Rukh for a dinner date…..and since…Famous people inside the US are not, by and large, treated differently by law enforcement agencies, next time you are profiled on airport, expect a call from
    Morale of the story : 1. Law works differently for influential people irrespective of place.
    2. The whole thing happened not despite his fame…but because the officer probably had no idea of his fame and influence….
    BTW…didnt you know that Lalit Modi did all sorts of crazy things in US and got away….is it a coincidence that he had a 2000cr business empire watching his back?
    Tell a normal undergrad to do the same and see what happens…..

    Anyways…my point is made….Eat your words my friend!!

  116. 1. He said that he was detained because his name was Khan, not beacasue he was not recognised. SRK, the star. In his interview he said in the end, “they have issues with certain race/ religion, which is a problem in out country. It needs to be discussed and not in such volatile platform.” He has never talked abt his expectation of VIp treatment becos he is a celebrity

    2. Another valid point he makes is about the fingerprint and retina scan. Done at consulate while they issue visa. All they needed was to tally the fingerprints on the visa with the fingerprints of the person in front of them. And Boom. SRK or no SRK, star or no star, Muslim or non-Muslim. Does not matter. Unless they doubted their own visa issuing authority/ process.

  117. This one has got to be one of your best blogs dude(I maybe biased because I agree with you completely on this one).But my laugh-o-meter scored quite a lot of points when you used examples of his old films like “chaked Indians” or Gham with khushi and all that. I also liked the coinage of the term “Aesthetic Police” . HaHa . dont we think we in India really need one to counter all the crap shown on tv/media/cinema.Maybe we should call it the Ramesh Sippy Dal or the Vishwa Manmohan Desai Fan Parishad(cause the crap they showed at least was entertaining aesthetically, I couldnt think of a name for such an aesthetic police, see if you can find an apt one 😉 ).I can’t help but visualise one of this dals rampaging the PR offices of some of the people who are in glare of the media.

  118. “@ Essbee, Chill out. I think you are missing the point….That is because they have a mandate to do so and are just doing their duty.”

    I think you are missing the point..) Doing your duty doesn’t come with a stipulation – ‘Don’t use your brain’. The anecdote below best illustrates the idiocy of slavish, robotic, unthinking and blind obedience to ‘duty’

    “It is in the apparently little things in daily life that you can see where the world is collectively heading and two recent experiences have shown me how deep the ‘rules is rules’ mentality and political correctness is now embedded in mainstream society. Last Saturday I was driving with my 15-year-old son, Jaymie, to a football match in southern England when he needed a wee. Nothing could be more natural – water in, water out….”

  119. “…of a mathematical proof, His godliness]”

    If this does not deserve an ignobel prize, I don’t know what does.

  120. i m following your blog since last 2 or 2.5 years and i real comments too. it is clear that for the first time so many readers are disagree with u. it shows that there are some truth in SRK alligation adl pls dont count disagrre readers is SRK fan list. u have vented your hatred againest SRK often but then not many readers protested so 2 lesson learnt.
    1-don’t bring biasness into writing(though it is your personnal blog)

  121. Shaw Look Cannes August 19, 2009 — 8:24 pm


    Why does your English sound worse than that of Inzamam and Saqlain? You really need to take some “Rapidex Ingliss Ispeeking Corsij” and get your friends to join too.

  122. Shaw Look Cannes August 19, 2009 — 8:27 pm

    …and then take some English writing lessons too. Start with “A for alligation (sic)”, “B for biasness (sic)”, “D for disagrre” etc.

  123. The article is okay…but this thing about our colonial mindset etc is f**ing stupid…Why dnt you pick a name from Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world list (SRK is in there unfortunately) and say…he/she was detained and there was no hoopla…..and he/she just made a quiet exit….its unbelievable how stupid that is….love you man…but this crap about Indian mentality is amazingly dumb!

  124. In two cases, I have personally observed how law enforcement authorities (at two different airports) treat famous Americans…

    The first is a well-known US Congressman from Texas, the second a famous US astronaut who lives in the Washington DC area.

    Both of these famous Americans had to present their ID at the check-in terminal(even though they were probably well-known to the airport security staff), check their bags in themselves, present their ID again to the security screeners, take off their shoes, go through security checks/x-ray scanning just like everyone else, wait patiently in the same passenger lounge as others, stand in line to board the plane and best of all, lug their own carry-on-bags all the way through (as they did not have any bodyguards or man-servants to lighten their loads).

    There was no fuss expected or given.

  125. ummm…since when did Arnold Schwarzenegger become a law enforcement agency official?

  126. oh…he is not rahul ‘rainman d’mello….hes their boss!!. My bad….lol
    and yeah sure…US celebrities NEVER make a fuss when they are bothered!…mind passing the joint?..i want to be as high as you…lol

  127. @aniket ‘John Nash’ rande,
    I wouldn’t bother passing you the joint. It looks like you are stoned sky-high already !

  128. Lol…Governor rolling the carpet doesnt amount to special treatment for celebrities….oh…he has nothing to do with the law enforcement too… would u like fries ur words sir?…LAMO!

  129. you sure are a trip. Was the Cambridge police officer (invited by Obama to the White House) also a celebrity? KMA.

  130. yup…im a trip…cuz i dont think standard security checks = getting detained by officials…lol
    now..lets do this…
    Step 1. READ my comment..i said if they were ‘detained’…
    Step 2. Let me know what u r smoking…seems pretty good…lol

  131. hey Aniket ‘Charles Manson’ Rande,
    Go back and read all your comments and ask yourself if you owe GB an apology …

  132. hahahahahahaha GB an apology?? You are almost unbearable as shahrukh himself…mmmm…not a coincidence you share his fav screen name i guess
    i just realized i was wasting my time….good job standing up for them texax congressmen….they sure are unassuming…lol

  133. Good that you got the message. You may continue to entertain us with your psychedelic rants.

  134. He great bong!

    [I presume he has not been stopped before else we would have heard him saying in press conferences: “They stopped me because they felt gum at my khushi” or They stopped me chalte chalte” or “They made me take off my shirt and reveal my six packs. I was discriminated everywhere— New York, Paris, San Francisco. Dil mein mere hai dard-e-disco.” or “They “chaked” me out because I was Indian”. ]


    A wonderful post as always..

    I could not resist the amazing comments made by Rajib Roy on your older post. I published that on my blog (linking back to your blog and your post, of course!).

    Best wi

  135. He great bong!

    [I presume he has not been stopped before else we would have heard him saying in press conferences: “They stopped me because they felt gum at my khushi” or They stopped me chalte chalte” or “They made me take off my shirt and reveal my six packs. I was discriminated everywhere— New York, Paris, San Francisco. Dil mein mere hai dard-e-disco.” or “They “chaked” me out because I was Indian”. ]


    A wonderful post as always..

    I could not resist the amazing comments made by Rajib Roy on your older post. I published that on my blog (linking back to your blog and your post, of course!).

    Best wishes for your book.. 🙂

  136. Hi GB,

    * This was an excellent post. It shows that when you think about something deeply, you can easily come up with introspective and analytical posts, a quality of yours which is often obfuscated by your more famous posts of more levity. Of course, the various strands in this post are connected quite tenuously, but nonetheless, logically. In that aspect, this post falls way short of the best of all analytical posts written by you, the A. Roy post; the logic and genius of which would surely have made Einstein and Newton applaud from six feet under.

    * SRK did say that he was detained as his name is Khan. And why should that be a problem? He should realize that entering a country, weather it be India or USA is a privilege, not a right. I am sure that many would then jump on me wrt the Iraq war, but it would be irrational to bring that aspect into customs and immigration issues. And no, I dont support the war. 🙂

    * Post 9-11, even though not publicly acknowledged, Muslims have been under the scanner more than others. That may be flawed, but we must remember that any find of flawed checking at US POE will hurt the US itself. But till then, one has to suck it up. Yes, you were detained because you are a Khan!!!!!

    * Therefore, his displeasure reeks of an arrogant attitude, which is clearly a result of his idolatry and stardom back home. It cannot however be said that he is a man who means what he says; he went back from SA to dance at weddings and said he would travel to US to drink Pepsi, which shows that he is a mercenary first, and all else later. This is not abhorrent in itself, but casts grave doubt on the conviction of his churlish tone. Is it a genuine peeve, or a publicity stunt? The argument will go on ad infinitum. But whatever it was, the result of that, given the nature of media in our country means that he gets a shot in the arm for his forthcoming film’s popularity. He certainly has a right to be peeved, but he loses respect when he says that these are kind of incidents that would make him consider coming to US again, as every subsequent visit from now on with a commercial motive would betray that very emotion.

    * Your analysis is excellent in the sense of what led him to his sense of stardom-entitlement all around the world wrt to the prevalent culture in India, but suffers from showing the horror side of such a culture. Many celebrities here have been brought to justice here because of scrutiny which spares none, but the same cannot be said of India where less vigilance is a free accessory to fame. If he would have had the experience of being detained at some Indian airport for security, DESPITE his stardom, it would have been a sobering experience for him. But that is not possible here. More so, the pseudo-seculars of our country would have their pants on fire at the idea of someone being subjected to random security checks because of his last name. This means that a celebrity can be a part of a nefarious group, and never suspected of being so because of the prevalent culture. Now that is very scary. I am not saying that fame does not have its perks in the US. It certainly does. But random security checks should of course be what they are – random, and if there has been a past case of terror perpetration by a particular community, then its members should expect extra frequency of being scrutinized. This of course would defeat my earlier argument, but it does make mathematical sense based on past values and considering that we can only randomly select a sample, and not scan the entire population. Of course, biases, and racial discrimination, like what you face in European airports will be there, as the people doing these jobs are not too bright- just like the people at the DMV or the post office, which incidentally is why they are there in the first place.

    * Continuing my argument above, I would say that the US model of screening is therefore fairer than the Indian one as in the latter, we are excluding a subset from scrutiny (celebs, people of money, power and fame etc.), whereas in the former, everyone has a positive probability of being subjected to intensive security checks, albeit with a wide and substantial variance. My hypothesis is further strengthened by Ruchi’s comment above.

  137. More or less everyone in Bollywood is indulging in something or the other to promote their commercial flicks. Nothing wrong with the idea as such. The way SRK chose to publicize but is something worth being labeled as a disgusting plot for self-promotion.

  138. Boy, you have poked at the hive and the bees are gonna kill you for hurting (read “making fun of”) the Queen, errrrr King, King Khan.

    Well GB, when I read your post, I thought you were merely mocking at the guy, our very own super-duper-star, whom you don’t have a liking for (my guess). No wonder. You are the “chela of Prabhuji” and it’s obvious that you and SRK don’t gel nicely, anyhow. And that’s why I thought you were making up those “create a gigantic buzz about his upcoming movie” ideas just to make fun of SRK. But after your replies to the comments, it seems you really believe in that “shit”. Ain’t it going a little over-board? But again, it’s GB’s blog, and that’s what GB’s blog does. Don’t take these as negative comments. I thoroughly appreciate your writings and want them to be “over-board”. Just wanted other people not to take things too seriously…

    P.S: I was thoroughly checked (took stuff out of my bag and weird questions were asked) in Delhi Airport once, coz I had a shapeless goatie, a shaved off moustache (well was learning guitar and wanted to look like James Hetfield, Metallica). But being a down-to-earth bong with “pata chul” (nicely combed good-boy hair-do) and all, the combo looked disastrous. But I guess thats how terrorists look like. And guys, that’s how it goes, either the name or the beard (minus the moustache) gets you in trouble.

  139. @ Atri
    The beard minus the moushtache has a historical significance for those who indulge in the pious act of Jihad (some call it terrorism).

    Hence the extra scrutiny.

  140. What is wrong ? I posted a comment yesterday which never appeared. Is that a technical fault ?

  141. greatbong, the plug for your upcoming book part was good! its what i have been saying, that its all a big stunt, but people are asking things like ‘if brad pitt was made to go through this would they not have cribbed?’ whatever, who cares? no big deal either way, eh?

  142. You hate SRK so much that it clouds your reason – and makes u so sure that all this is publicity gimick. Please dont over-simplify things.

  143. A lot has been said about how the US treats celebrities and ordinary people alike, while our own VIPs, spoilt as they are, by India’s patronizing culture take offense at the same treatment. We must recognize that India tends to be an extreme society. So if we are at times patronizing, we are also equally adept at making our celebrities feel ordinary with our extremely personal criticisms and the indignity of comparisons. Remember Salman Khan’s drunken driving episode, the debate on SRK’s sexuality etc. Surely we hear less of things like an actor throwing a phone at a hotel clerk (Russel Crowe); behaviour which shows a great deal of arrogance indeed.
    About SRK milking the incident for publicity, I can’t say I know. Presonally, I don’t think he is quite that conceited. And moderately talented he may be, but its not self promotion alone that has made him what he is. Acting in movies requires a lot more than just playing a character well. I am not really going to get into “What SRK got Aamir and Naseer ain’t got”. I will just say it must be something and its definitely not just a go-getter attitude. Going just by that, Rakhi Sawant ought to be a worshipped goddess..

  144. Oh come on! They made me strip even my socks (MY SOCKS!! MY socks!!) when I landed there the first time. Can you imagine the trouble they have to go through when they search someone! 😉

  145. Sourasis, Yes no comments here.

    Great Bihari, Russel Crowe throwing phone at hotel clerk. Sallu Mian running over pavement dwellers and leaving and going scot-free. Sounds the same?

    And dude having heard some inside Bollywood gossip (for which I cannot divulge names) the practice of stars filthily abusing and slapping old “servants” for getting their tea cold or their makeup wrong isnt unheard of. If Bollywood stars were under the level of scrutiny that Hollywood is (trust me when I say that the film glossies exercise elaborate censorship in order to not piss off stars too much), then a lot more examples of their arrogance would come out.

  146. OMG…146 comments.


    Finally SRK get what he wants..a mention on Jon Stewart show! :p He might be only Bolly-star to have attention from modern er…Socrates!

  148. @ GB .. it is strange coz once I posted my comment I realized that it was not showing up immediately. So, I tried to resubmit and it said duplicate comment detected !! So, I got puzzled and left. Next day I came back and still did not find my comment. Has to be some error at your end where your database has registered my comment in the first case but never showed it , since otherwise it couldn’t have detected a duplicate comment.

    Anywayz the main question I posed in my comment is that whether US attitude towards muslims is a mass religious profiling where shah rukh khan was just another muslim victim. And if so, then souldn’t we indians protest that more after the way US put India on a watchlist for religious freedom. ?

  149. Heh. That John Stewart clip was absolutely howlarious. However Stewart lost the following fact behind the references to Bon Jovi etc, that India and Indians have quite a strong presence in NJ. I have always met plenty of brown TSA officials in East coast airports. Tell you what…it was a strange experience.

    Now here’s a thought:

    “I was detained at the airport because I am a Khan”

    Interpretation 1: Just matter-of-fact.

    Interpretation 2: Peeved at being detained on his tracks as he is a Muslim.

    Interpretation 3: Can you believe these morons couldn’t differentiate between THE KHAN and the other khans?

    Interpretation 4: Perfect sales pitch…in fact a dream sales pitch for his movie. He makes a movie and then reality mimics the screen!!!

    Maybe its a combination. But by design/accident, it is an awesome sales pitch. Doesn’t get better than that.

  150. I think media goons. And Metro types take Media-Poodles far too seriously .

  151. Waiting for Godot Rajib Roy to make an appearance.

  152. Those who think that entering US is a privilege and not a right, a reminder – there would have been no U.S.A had Columbus and his minions considered entering America (and stealing the entire continent from native Indians, as a privilege and not a divine Concepts like privileges or rights (also national boundaries) are man-made concepts, implanted and instituted by powerful men. People with influence and power constantly redraw such concepts while envious, puny minds easily get brainwashed by planted ideas and start respecting them believing there is some good reason why we need to adhere or obey such artificial concepts.

    Chacko (of Mumbai Mirror) sums it up best..

    “So, a bit of bad behaviour is the way to go. John Travolta has his plane and so do mid-level Hollywood execs. It’s time SRK or Hrithik Roshan got their private jets. When The Rolling Stones get out of a plane drunk and shouting, no one checks their visas, the excuse being, “Oh, it’s the Rolling Stones.” Now, a global hero to three billion people needs to get off his jet, say whatever erratic thing he wants to in any city and if anyone stops him, the answer should be, “My name is Khan.”

    And if the New Jersey official doesn’t know who that is, someone will tell him that the balance of global power is shifting. If India and China need to kick ass on the world stage, a little ego, a little tantrum from a SRK or a Jet Li is needed. Enough of politesse. The West did not get to rule the world from the 14th to the 20th Century by being nice. And today, in the 21st Century, if SRK wants to rule the world, he’s going to have to make some noise.”

  153. @Esbee- What you said is correct historically. But you forget that it everything was not so even back in the 14th and 15th century. As an example, a country like North Korea could not have fought Britain because of the asymmetry in firepower back then, but today they can see eye to eye with US wrt nuclear power. I support North’s rights to have nuclear power. If a country like Pakistan can have it, so can they. Yes that same desire to dominate like yesteryears does exist among bigger nations, but it is much harder to do so in this day and age. We have seen what happened in Vietnam, what is happening in Iraq.

    But the problem is when you try to undo every historical wrong, you soon relaise the futility of it. As an example, I would like to believe that the entire landmass of Pakistan belongs to India. I would like to turn back the clock and see Babur being cut into pieces so that the Dynasty never existed for people like Romila Thapar to romanticize. And what about the British invasion of India? There are thousands of instances like this. How about the abject disdain with which the aborigines are still treated in that racist shithole called Australia?

    It is wishful thinking that somehow the present day sons of the victims of the past would set the record straight. If every historical wrong is nullified by a present day retribution, the human race would be wiped out pretty soon, as such historical wrongs have happened everywhere in the world. But reality should step in when you reconcile with the present day scenario. Plus I would say that bringing things like historical wrongs in the 14th and 15th centuries, Christopher Cbus and the native Americans, India’s national pride etc are just plain wrong in the context of this incident. If anything, IMO it reflects a rather fragile self esteem. If I am checked and detained, you insult my country and denigrate its citizens…you are racist…and if I am not checked…everything is allright….you respect my country…recognize its growing stature…cmon.
    Just so silly.

    Please try to understand where I am coming from. My point is that he should have been checked even if the immigration people knew who he was. I even think that he should be checked within India too. Lets say that if there is a rule that no one should carry assault weapons on board in domestic flights. When you don’t check a celeb, you are sending a message to him…yes you can carry an assault weapon on board. That is unfair to the non-celebs. Making noise is therefore ok only if there was harassment. Merely being detained for the purpose of a background check is hardly an “insult”, as the media have quoted it.

    A few other points which astonish me are:

    *”Whoa they didnt know who SRK was”.

    *And if the New Jersey official doesn’t know who that is, someone will tell him that the balance of global power is shifting. If India and China need to kick ass on the world stage, a little ego, a little tantrum from a SRK or a Jet Li is needed. Enough of politesse. The West did not get to rule the world from the 14th to the 20th Century by being nice. And today, in the 21st Century, if SRK wants to rule the world, he’s going to have to make some noise.”

    Oh yeah ….does everyone in India know who Lebron James or A Rod are? And why should that ignorance be construed as an disdain to the nation? I once had a huge argument at a DMV once. The jackass behind the counter didn’t know one very basic thing and was trying to refuse me my DL. I was sucked into a similar train of though…oh he doesn’t know even that….later a person took me aside and said, “Expect things like that here. If these people would have been intelligent, they would not have been working here.” So the fallacy here is that people are expecting TSA officials to be GK and quiz champions, knowledgeable with every aspect of pop culture around the world…which they are not. Many people in US have never traveled outside their own hometowns, let alone their country. You guys expect everyone to be the same! And if ignorant, the TSA guy did the right thing…when in doubt, first clarify and then let go. If you cant deal with that, or think that it is unfair, then you have the answer to the vexing question asked above,:”Why are we so mad about our celebs, refusing to see them as normal persons? Why are we so subservient to a foreign dignitaries?”, staring right at you.

    *Another random thought: Lets say by the logic of the commentator above, SRK arrives at a POE. He says to the white official, “You stupid Irish pig, my name is Khan…you have no f-ing right to detain me…bring on a true Native American…only he can question me…your ancestors came in the 17th centry to this country…you have no right to question me.”

    So how about an answer like:”You know what we have had quite an education about Indian history via Rishi Khujur and HHBB via many comment threads. If your name is Khan, then you better get a passport from Turkmenistan or Uzbekistan where Babur came from. This present day Indian passport wouldn’t work.”

    Being stepped in the reality of present day India while judging US on its history…you see the fallacy?

  154. @ Yourfan2
    As always.
    Insightful and deep.

  155. yourfan2@”As an example, I would like to believe that the entire landmass of Pakistan belongs to India.”

    You hit the nail on the head, yourfan2. When will Indians realise this simple fact? Pakistan is a large-scale Arab encroachment of Indian land. So is East Pakistan (a.k.a. Bangladesh). Both Pakistan and Bangladesh are serving as useful beach-heads in the ongoing “colonization” of India. Remember the popular Muslim League slogan that echoed throughout the Indian subcontinent in 1947: “Hans ke liya Pakistan; Lad ke lenge Hindustan” meaning: “Wresting Pakistan (from India) was easy; We will now fight wars to occupy ALL of India”. And yet, what do we Indians do? We have secular wet-dreams and shout slogans of “Lamb-Wolf bhai-bhai”.;)

    GB, sorry for my segue from the Shah Rukh Khan topic to Abdul Qadeer Khan !!!

  156. “yourfan2@”As an example” – This looked very weird at first. 😛

    Yourfan2 – I agree with things you said about Americans not even having out of their towns. I had a colleague once who had to get his passport done at the age of 54 to travel to Europe. And to think Europe was just across the ocean.

  157. @yourfan2 – SRK is hardly correcting or attempting to undo any historical error. He is only asserting his personal and India’s power (to whatever extent it has in the global scheme of things) by protesting against the incident. All the examples that you mentioned only show that might is always right whether it was in 14th century or in the present one. Iraq isn’t history yet..americans still continue to occupy and rule the country thorough a puppet government.

    I can give you a million examples of how might rules the world. It would take several volumes of books to document all the examples of how power rules the roost. SRK is just a small fish asserting whatever limited power he has..He is not bombing and killing innocents, he is not threatening some country to stop its nuclear program or face war. He is not torturing prisoners in guantanemo bay or abu gharib. He is not using his power to stage coups and overthrow democratically elected governments that refuse to share their resources with transnationals.

    The shameful thing is that all of you apologists of USA don’t have any problem with the terror unleashed by this superpower on millions of people all over the world. You might make a token protest here or there,(or assert that you don’t support this or that action of US) but more or less most of you have accepted US’s dominance and shameless use of its military and economic might to wreck havoc on the planet without much protesting. Where is the hostility, the ridicule, the anger, the disgust, the rage, the hatred against naked exhibition of power by the west? Is SRK really worth all the anger and hatred? Its pathetic that Indian youth is obsessed with celebrity-related trivialities while happily ignoring millions of injustices suffered by the powerless at the hands of the mighty lords of the world.

    Where is the question of undoing historical wrongs? History isn’t dead. There wasn’t any date when history ended and a new modern world began with new set of rules bestowing equality on everyone in the world. History is still unfolding. The rules keep changing slightly with time, but the basic framework remains the same. Instead of Christopher Columbus discovering Americas, we have America liberating Iraq. The powerless don’t have any say. They get ‘discovered’ or ‘liberated’ by mightly knights in shinning armors..LOL

    Now coming to the detainment case, you are misrepresenting facts. Did he protest against being frisked or checked for arms? If he had done that, then the brickbats being thrown at him would have been justified. Can you imagine a big hollywood star or a US pop star being detained for questioning or for a background check at Mumbai or Delhi airport? If Brad Pitt or George Clooney had to face a similar ‘ordeal’, I bet most of you would be up in arms ridiculing our custom officials and lamenting as to how such a shabby treatment of a hollywood celebrity will affect India’s image in the

    Who determines what constitutes an insult? You? GB? When that Iraqi journalist threw a shoe at GWB, was the ex-president insulted? Everyone in the world felt that Dubya deserved it (going by the popularity of shoe-throwing flash games), except the puppet Iraqi government which promptly threw the guy in jail. If SRK felt insulted by the treatment he received at the hands of US customs, it was his prerogative to feel insulted and rant about it. He merely mentioned the incident and talked about the embarrassment he felt..didn’t tell you to feel insulted too or ask you to join a protest rally against US. So why make such a hue and cry over his act? Every person sets his own boundaries. What right do you have of telling SRK that he should set his boundaries in alignment with your narrow boundaries?

    “So the fallacy here is that people are expecting TSA officials to be GK and quiz champions, knowledgeable with every aspect of pop culture around the world…which they are not. Many people in US have never traveled outside their own hometowns, let alone their country. You guys expect everyone to be the same!”

    Its getting really difficult to argue with any rationality. All the arguments that are being thrown around are irrelevant and pointless. Someone imagines or assumes something, rants about it and the next thing we know, his assumptions get discussed as if they were facts.

    Did SRK say that he expected to be recognized? Did he ever say that his detainment was an ‘insult’ for India? His point was simple – that he was detained due to his name. Now, he could be lying or it could be a publicity stunt. Its his word against theirs. Why should you take sides? Many are arguing that American officials have a right to single out Muslims because Muslims are responsible for majority of terror attacks in the world. Now these are just opinions, not facts. A Muslim can similarly argue about millions being killed in Iraq and call it state-terrorism of US. Would you be able to look into the eyes of an Iraqi widow and tell her that the death of her husband was not a result of US terror attack? If suppose every Hindu was viewed as a possible terrorist, due to LTTE’s terrorism, wouldn’t you feel hurt at being singled out at every international airport in the world?

    Individuality is dying in our country. Most of you guys can’t digest anyone setting their own standards of what is acceptable to them. Some big guys set the rules and everyone is expected to follow them herd-like without challenging them or questioning the justification of the rules. If someone dares to step out of line he is ridiculed for having exaggerated self-importance. Just a few weeks ago, our cricketers were target of popular ire for refusing to tow the line and were termed as ‘spoilt brats’ Now we have Virendra Sehwag heroically raising his voice against corruption. But I don’t see much commentary on the internet. Not many blogs are being written congratulating him for daring to train his guns at the establishment. Cognitive dissonance, anyone?

    This is a link from TOI which brings the matters over which SRk might have been detained.
    Now, what are probabilities that SRK knew about the dodgy links of his promoters beforehand , and still went ahead with the tour ? What are the bets that SRK already knew that he might be “detained” at the airport and that would give unprecedented publicity for his film? And if detained , he might easily wriggle out of the situation as he is SRK?

    Well, I still have enough liking for SRK from some of his movies, so I would not accuse him of any of the above and still believe otherwise, but still maybe….

  159. GB, good post!….YF2 – excellent, cogent arguments…completely agree with you…

  160. Ok Esbee. I am touched by the emotion of your comment. You do seem to hold serious views on various global issues. All I will say is, it is not clear that SRK’s emotion was as genuine as the one in your comment. Therefore, I cannot give him the benefit of the doubt. People like me, GB, and countless others have gone thru the same procedure in US. I do not see his case as any abberation, and nor do I support any preferential treatment for him.

  161. Esbee–I agree with your last comment. I had the same thoughts–but you found the right words.

  162. @yf2 – I’m arguing purely from a logical point of view not out of any emotion or seriousness. :)) I would support anyone who speaks out against religious discrimination or racial profiling whether he is a non-celebrity or a megalomaniac hypocrite like SRK, living in his own bubble world oblivious to reality. If it wasn’t a publicity stunt, then it was a terrific comeuppance (almost an instant karmic for him so soon after he publicly ridiculed Emraan Hanshmi for alleging religious discrimination.

    Sure, you can deride him for his hypocrisy and ignorance of reality, but don’t deny him the right to speak out against any kind of discrimination. How would a student in Sydney beaten up for being an Indian feel if he was told to shut up and suck it up because Dalits in India are routinely harassed or beaten up by upper castes?

  163. For those asses like Esbee crying on and on about how GB is an Uncle Tom for laughing at SRK (the same GB who was solidly for Indians when they were being attacked in Australia) here is a bit of news which may explain why SRK was stopped.

    “Was there something about his papers or something else about the visit this time around which may have set off an alert? ”

    I think GB hit the nail right here.

  164. @Rohan, maybe if you stop thinking from your *ass* (and ‘ass’-uming that I was ‘crying’ about GB laughing at SRK) and read all my comments (including my last one) carefully, you will see that I’ve only defended SRK’s right to protest against racial profiling on the assumption that it was primarily a case of religious discrimination.

    Grant some intelligence to the man. He wouldn’t be stupid enough to talk about his detainment, if he knew or if he was told that that he was being probed for links with underworld. From all accounts, it looks like CBP, under fire and needing justifications for detaining him have come up with this tenuous link only after the incident. If this was the reason for his detainment, why did CBP initially lie that he was detained because of late arrival of luggage from London?

    All my arguments are based on initial information that we were provided with and a reasonable assessment of what might have transpired at the airport. If tomorrow, SRK is convicted for any crime, it wouldn’t invalidate my arguments based on the inputs I had at the time of my posting my comments.

    Read SRK’s initial comments – ”I told them I was a movie star and had recently visited the country for the shooting of my film. Nothing seemed to convince the immigration officer. There were other immigration officers who even vouched for me but this particular officer did not listen to anyone. I even told them I had an invitation from the South Asian community and was there to attend an event.” – If SRK was lying, can you think of any reason why he would single out one particular officer?

    SRK is not the first celebrity to speak out against racial profiling at US airports. Canadian writer Rohinton Mistry canceled his book tour because he was “fed up with the way he was treated at American airports” Was his decision to cancel the tour an example of VIP culture too? A British Muslim minister was similarly detained and he too expressed disappointment.

    Search the internet. You will find hundreds of cases where people have protested against being racial profiled. SRK’s case is perhaps the only one where the victim of profiling has been criticized, mocked and ridiculed for speaking out..

  165. Thanks for the link to the Mahabharat post! I wonder how I missed it. The comments are just too fab!

  166. an interesting take on the hoopla. this is a country where a certain mr vadra gets away without being frisked at airports by just being married to a certain ms. gandhi and we dont seem to mind.

  167. It is clearly visible that you hav i-love-to-hate-SRK syndrome. But there is a huge similarity between SRK and you, both of you are self-proclaimed experts. He says that he is NUMBER 1 and he is the BEST and you call urself GREAT.

  168. SRK should have kept his mouth shut and moved on quietly. His treatment was no different from millions of other travelers.

    There have been US Senators (Ted Kennedy) , former Vice Presidents (Al Gore) and other famous people in the US who have been detained and questioned by airport security because for some reason their name triggered an alert in the security database system or they violated airport security procedures. Unlike SRK, they accepted that security was just doing their job. No big deal.

    The people making excuses for SRK need to realize that US airport security does not gave celebrities special treatment. Yes, sometimes someone at airport security may bypass protocol for someone they recognize but that is cause for suspension or dismissal if they are caught doing so. The person who told Al Gore to around the security checkpoint was reprimanded and suspended from their security job.

  169. @ Hujur
    Cannot imagine Chidu writing this 🙂

    The “South Asian” thing is a sword that cuts both ways.
    Unfortuantely, we havnt used it properly.

    There is a larger idea to the “South Asian” thing.
    Will keep that conversation for another day.

  170. Great Bong seems to suffer from the “(voluntary) Stockholm Syndrome” that all Indian immigrants to a developed country subject themselves to. That is basically praising to high heavens the “systems” of their adopted country whenever a “desi visitor” gets victimised by it. Otherwise, GB would have empathised in SRK’s ordeal, similar experiences that he had in Barcelona & other places .

    Maybe SRK was doing it for publicity & expecting to gather ordinary people around him. People who faced similar ordeals but had kept their mouths shut inspite of missing appointments, flights etc. after being detained for an unduly long period of time & being subjected to humiliation.

    A celebrity’s voice, rather than a commoner’s, reaches farthest corners. Sometimes they cause change but most often they create a noise. Large number of such “noise” over a period of time can also cause change. We forget how “South Africa” was made to change its regime of apartheid.

    But probably SRK made a mistake in expecting Indian immigrants to join in his chorus. Because they are servile immigrants first & Indians later.

  171. Barakhamba Obamamba August 28, 2009 — 3:08 pm

    Cynic ji:
    Do you see your lower intestine yet. Push your head further up.

  172. The really big shots here anyway travel by private planes!

  173. Excellent article, and I agree with the fact that opportunists like SRK will make a mountain out of mole hill to reap some advantage for themselves. They consider themselves above common Indians, and shame on us that we let them get away with it. SRK saw the wrath of his fans in London almost 16 years ago, when he had shamelessly ridiculed Hindu God (Bhagawan) by calling the God “Aabe Saale”. His fans did not tolerate it and immediately threw shoes at SRK. Jutiya kha khake Khan ki chutiya charabi thodisi pighal gayi. Looks like he has gained it again hundred times over. Does he not realize that the safety of people and nation is far more important than his being kha-kha-khan. His odacity to call the press to talk agains US Government’s safety policies and procedures disgusts me. Also disgraceful and tasteless is the defending of his actions from Indians (in this column responses). It’s about time Indian mind wakes up to the smell of coffee, appreciate the independence, equality and dignity of all the humans that share this world together….rather than tolerating the nonsensical comical acts of SRK and similar Kha-Kha-Khans.

  174. Where from u get this fked up stories — DEODUTTA i ws stayin in UK 90’s nd close follw of SRK and bollymovie nvr heard this stop daydreams n mk those get real wrte wi some sense ur baap msut b an unhppy man

  175. Shobu betti, u shd check out nuse papers if u can read u find the story’s real nd ur baap b an unhappy man dont wori b happi sobhu

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