If you thought only a common man can have problems at the airports, then hang on! Several famous Indian celebs have faced the ordeal of being detained and quizzed by US airport officials. For some celebrities, it was their name that resulted in problems while in some cases, it was their looks.
- Shah Rukh Khan
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The “Badshah” of Bollywood needs no introduction. He has been detained and questioned by the US authorities three times. Shah Rukh Khan whose worth is in millions is considered to be one of the richest celebrities in the World. Therefore, it is surprising that he has to face this kind of treatment. The latest incident happened at Los Angeles Airport.
Mr. Rich Verma –The American Ambassador to India apologized for the same on Twitter. In 2009 he was detained at Newark Airport where he had gone to promote his movie “My Name is Khan”. In 2012 when he was on his way to address students at Yale he was detained at White Plains in NY.
- Irrfan Khan
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This Bollywood actor is known for several power-packed performances. He has also worked in Hollywood movies like Slumdog Millionaire, Life of Pi and Spider-Man. Even then he has been detained at the US airports two times. He was detained at Los Angeles Airport in 2008 and at New York Airport in 2009. He says that it is frustrating as police officials with guns take you to a room and you are asked to sit there.
You are not allowed to interact and then they come back after few hours and say that you can leave. He has stated that he tells his hosts that if he is again detained on US soil then he will simply fly back to India.
- Neil Nitin Mukesh
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In the year 2009, this Bollywood actor was detained at the New York airport because of his looks. He was visiting New York for the shooting of his movie “New York”. As per reports, the airport officials refused to accept that Neil was an Indian. According to Neil, they felt he was too fair to be an Indian. He tried to convince them that both his parents were Indians but they would not let him go.
Finally, he asked them to Google his name. Only then they realised their mistake. Then they started questioning him about the type of movies he did and the background of his new movie New York etc. However, this incident gave Neil an insight into the discrimination in the US.
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In April 2009, famous actor Mammooty was detained at the JFK airport for two hours. There were some issues over his name in the passport. The name in his passport is Mohammed Kutty Ismail Paniparambil. He was held back due to the name Mohammed Ismail which was on an alert on US and British airports. The Indian consulate had to intervene and only after that Mammooty was released.
- Kamal Hasan
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In the year 2002, noted film actor Kamal Hasan was detained at the Toronto Pearson International Airport. The US Customs and Border protection authorities refused to give preclearance as they thought he was a Muslim.
This was mainly because of his Arabic sounding name Kamal Hasan. They grilled him as if he was a terrorist and he was told that he would not be allowed to board the flight to Los Angeles. He was stranded at the airport on Sunday. Finally, Kamal called his friends in the American embassy and breathed a sigh of relief.
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Shah Rukh Khan’s recent ordeal at a US airport caught headlines, but he’s not the only celebrity to have had trouble with the American Airport authorities.