April 13, 2012 11:33 IST
Shah Rukh Khan knows by now what to expect when flying to the US. A trip to North America typically means two hours or so of questioning by immigration officials before he is allowed to go on his way.
Yesterday, Mr Khan was detained for two hours at New York's White plain airport. He flew in with Nita Ambani in a private plane, to speak at Yale University where he is this year's Chubb Fellow. Mrs Ambani and others with them were cleared by immigration but Mr Khan was not. This is the second time he has been detained at an US airport.
In 2009, Mr Khan was detained at Newark Airport for two hours, being allowed out only after intensive questioning. Mr Khan, who was to be chief guest at a South Asian event in the US, was asked about the purpose of his visit, his hand luggage was checked and he was allowed to make a phone call only an hour later.
He called his secretary back home in India and Congress MP Rajiv Shukla for help. Mr Shukla spoke to the Indian Mission in the US who came to the superstar's rescue.
"I have always been worried about travelling to America. I shy away from all this. I don't look like a terrorist going to do anything to the country. I did feel bad. I felt angry. I am glad my family wasn't there. God knows what they would have done to them," Mr Khan had said then.
This time round, Mr Khan was prepared to be detained, believing himself to be on some sort of list that flags passengers to be screened at US airports. Shailja Gupta, the USA head of his company Red Chillies Entertainment, said that Mr Khan answered all questions with grace and patience.
Mr Khan is not the only Indian celebrity to have been questioned in the US - Aamir Khan was strip searched at Chicago in 2002, John Abraham was stopped in New York for having Afghanistan as a country visited on his passport and fair skinned Neil Nitin Mukesh was also stopped in New York because authorities didn't believe he was Indian.