Bollywood star held in U.S. airport, fans outraged

Sat Aug 15, 2009 9:09am EDT
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MUMBAI (Reuters) - Indian Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan said he felt angry and humiliated after he was detained and questioned at a U.S. airport, sparking an uproar in India among his fans.

Khan, 43, one of India's best known actors, was enroute to Chicago for a parade to mark the Indian independence day on Saturday when he was pulled aside at Newark airport Friday, he said.

"I was really hassled perhaps because of my name being Khan. These guys just wouldn't let me through," he said in a text message to reporters in India.

After a couple of hours' interrogation, he was allowed to make a call, he said, and he got in touch with the Indian consulate who vouched for him and secured his release.

"Absolutely uncalled for, I think. I felt angry and humiliated," said Khan, who had just finished a month-long shoot in the United States for his upcoming film "My Name is Khan," which is about a Muslim man's experience with racial profiling.

A U.S. consul official in India told a television channel they were inquiring into the matter.

As news of Khan's detention broke on Indian television channels, which have played up attacks in Australia on Indian students, fans and actors began posting angry comments on the Internet.

"Shocking, disturbing n downright disgraceful. It's such behavior that fuels hatred and racism. SRK's a world figure for God's sake. Get real!!," tweeted actor Priyanka Chopra.

Indian Information Minister Ambika Soni told a television station that while she could not say if Khan had been detained "on religious grounds, there have been too many instances like these in the U.S. concerning Indians."

Last month U.S-based carrier Continental Airlines apologized to former Indian president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam for frisking him at New Delhi airport.

(Reporting by Shilpa Jamkhandikar; Editing by Rina Chandran)

<p>Bollywood star and owner of the Kolkata Knight Riders cricket team, Shah Rukh Khan, addresses a news conference of the Indian Premier League (IPL) T20 cricket tournament in Cape Town, April 16, 2009. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings</p>