Memo to Shah Rukh

Dear Shah Rukh:

Just watched with immense fascination your interaction on TV with a bunch of journalists. As always, you showcased your ability to speak at the rate of knots. Kudos.

One minor quibble. You said, with considerable warmth, that you don’t consider yourself anyone special, that you never ask for special treatment, that if you are raising a fuss now it is for a larger reason. You point out that our former President APJ Abdul Kalam was similarly hassled, and that you believe a person of his eminence should never have been subjected to such indignities.

Since you seem a bit short on detail, here you go — the Kalam incident.

Two minor points: The incident happened in an Indian airport. The people involved were the staff of a private airline, not the immigration officials of another country. Arising from that — when time permits, please could you send me a link to what you, and your colleagues in the film industry, said in support of Kalam at the time?

Thanks, and best


17 thoughts on “Memo to Shah Rukh

  1. The media is to blame for publicizing unnecessary news. Who cares if SRK was questioned the airport? I’m a Hindu and I was questioned for a little over than an hour in US immigrations….

  2. Sir, I want media to apologize:-) I read reports in the Indian media that all NRI’s living in the US were outraged over SRK incident. What a BS! Who cares about SRK ..We got better things do ! We are not like A.Soni or PC. But Yes…NRI cricket fans were upset, not because of SRK incident but because RD was selected ahead of young Virat Kohli. But it’s Okay… we don’t watch ODI anyway. We got better things to do ..We are not like…?

  3. Looking at the whole issue and specially the coverage, as a third party observer it seems to me that there are 2 divisions in the media now. The conventional media seems to be making a mountain of a molehill. Whereas Srk bashing the favorite sport of the new age writers viz bloggers, libertarians. And almost inevitably everyone would talk about his so called ‘overacting’, stammer hamming, IPL fiasco and even some more totally irrelevant stuff.

    I find your argument about him not protesting about Kalam frivolous. Is Srk expected to come out and make his opinion on every issue? He has chosen to speak when he was affected. The argument that you have made and many others like GreatBong, Amit make is that many people have suffered detentions and discrimination at US airports and Srk is no more equal than others and therefore he should STFU. Just because it has happened before doesn’t mean we have to quietly accept racial profiling. Fine if it needs someone like Srk to bring the issue to the front, so be it. His ‘My name is Khan’ statement was dramatic and stupid, but the hidden issue is profiling in the name security is a fact.

    Everyone understands that in these times, tough measures have to be taken to ensure security. But once you have verified that someone is innocent, aren’t they entitled to at least an apology and an explanation.

    • With ref “I find your argument about him not protesting about Kalam frivolous”:

      In yesterday’s media interaction, SRK repeatedly said he wanted to stress that he was an ordinary person, that he did not expect special treatment. And then he said — again, more than once — that however, when such things happen to a former President, and a person respected internationally like Kalam, that is wrong and should be objected to.

      It is not I who, unilaterally, chose to bring up Kalam — it is SRK. In making this statement, he links — erroneously — what happened to him with what happened to Kalam, and says it should be protested in the strongest terms, it is hardly frivolous to ask whether he thought so at the time.

      None of this is to suggest there isn’t racial profiling. If you are looking for issues, another is the fact that the DHS list is flawed, and creates all kinds of oddities like the incident involving Al Gore (surely more familiar to US immigration officials than SRK) or the one involving Edward Kennedy (who has the benefit not only of a huge personal profile, but of a surname that is iconic across the US).

      And that issue *is* in fact being taken up at various levels and by various groups. SRK’s incident, at least IMHO, is not exactly the poster for such a crusade, however.

      • Its the media to blame. Who knows, Srk might have expressed his views personally during the Kalam episode, but the media didn’t choose to ask him or anyone else about their views. But in this case, when the media comes forward to ask him about his detention he has used the opportunity to express displeasure about the Kalam episode.

        I’m not trying to defend Srk, but I feel the that he has been berated unfairly in the blogging community and a lot of it seems to be venting of the general contempt for his performances and his public appearances, not specific to this issue. The Kennedy and Al Gore incidents as you pointed out no doubt bring out the fact that profiling is not limited to Asians or Muslims. But that does not mean that Srk is stripped of even the rights to protest against the treatment he was subjected to.
        The knee jerk reactions from Ms.Soni and others might have been over the board, but outlash against Srk is unwarranted

  4. Why don’t SRK and other VVIP’S just use private jets? CEO’s from all around the world, Hollywood stars, NBA/NFL stars never fly commercial airlines. So what’s deal? SRK doesn’t have enough $$’s to fly in a private jet?

  5. Prem!
    Check this extract taken from Greatbong!

    “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 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?”



  6. The most telling statement coming from SRK – “They suspected me because my name is Khan.” WTF? Even leaving aside the obvious point that his name is Shah Rukh, who talks like that in real life? No one. UNLESS, you want to specifically use the term “My name is Khan” in the sentence.

    This is a clear publicity stunt for his new movie. Crass, and indefensible!

  7. Hi Prem,

    Saw the whole interview. What made positive listening was how he dodged a few questions on why such an incident raised a few eyebrows in the Govt. He was again and again pointing out the unnecessary questions he was asked. Even Salman made a comment that it was normal routine to be asked ‘such’ questions, then why has the Media blown it out of proportions !!

    So much of other news to cover, positive news of course and they arrive at Mannat to do an interview with the man who actually was embarrassed to answer the questions which the media put forth.

    Grow up Indian MEDIA !!

    • Yeah, the trouble is, he never once spelt out what those “unnecessary questions” were. If he wanted to make his case, that is what he would have done: given the sequence of events, said something like…

      I was waiting at immigration, I was taken to detention, these were the questions I was asked, etc — and that narration would have told us if he had been hassled, or if it had been part of routine procedure, especially in case of a bloke who didn’t seem to know where his bags were.

      But no, he goes on about being humiliated, about never setting foot in the US again [yeah, right — wait till the premiere of the film] and then today says, the officials were courteous, they were polite, I understand the need for security, blah… so why were you humiliated again?

  8. Hey Prem – its just not SRK, it was all over the media equating SRK incident with that of Dr Abdul Kalam. Don’t they see the difference between a protocol violation involving an ex-president of India and a famous film personality who IS just like any other citizen of India.

    In fact, one Tamil news channel said that the actor was arrested in the airport. Don’t they see the difference between detention and arrest.

    • Shah Rukh Khan thinks that his name is unique to himself and no other person could have the name, why is he reacting to the name, it could have been just any other Shah Rukh Khan, who could be a plumber, an investment banker or even a terrorist.

      CNN IBN led the way in reporting this as breaking news, that was pathetic, if SRK was in Chicago for an event, he was being paid for it, its not like he went there to serve people and was detained.

      Unbearable both SRK and Indian Media.

    • The answer to both questions would be no. In this age of rush to judgment, where does the media have time to draw a breath and think? Yell first, and yell the loudest, is the mantra for success, apparently.

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