Movie star Shah Rukh Khan, detained at the Los Angeles airport for questioning, tweeted on Thursday: "Every damn time!" The 50-year-old actor, whose name matches with one of the 80,000 on the US no-fly list, took to Twitter to voice his exasperation. This is not the first time that the superstar, one of the most successful actors in the Hindi film industry, has been detained at an airport in the US.
American officials tell Private News Agency that when anyone comes to immigration, what pops up is a name without any other detail to help draw a distinction. In April 2012, Mr Khan was held back for over two hours at the airport in New York on a visit to address students at Yale University. He had joked later at Yale: "Whenever I start feeling too arrogant about myself I take a trip to America."
Mr Khan was a part of a group that included Nita Ambani, wife of industrialist Mukesh Ambani, whose daughter was a student at the university. While Mrs Ambani and the others were cleared immediately, the actor was stopped and allowed to leave only after two hours.
After arriving two hours late at Yale, he said in his address: "We were detained at the airport as always. For one and a half hours. It was nice. It always happens when I come to America." As New Delhi reacted strongly and asked the Indian Ambassador to take up the incident, the US Customs and Border Protection wrote to India's New York Mission expressing "profound apologies".
Earlier this year, the actor had said in an interview that he hoped this would stop, since his namesake had been removed from the no-fly list. "It just was very uncomfortable. To land up somewhere and getting stuck in an airport for 2-3 hours for no reason at all," he said. In 2009 too, the actor was stopped at the New York airport because his name came up on a computer alert list.