Shah Rukh Khan‘s two-hour detention at a US airport may not be as random as US authorities claim, says Satyen K Bordoloi as he profiles Islamophobia and its roots in cinema.
(With invaluable inputs from Monica Wahi and Shama Zaidi)
Three people stepped out of the private jet owned by the second richest man in Asia. Two of them were the man’s wife and daughter while the third was a film star whose global fan base outnumbers that of the biggest Hollywood star.
Yet, the film star was picked up for ‘terror’ screening in the US airport and detained for two hours. Though no one said so, everyone knows that the star’s fault lay in his name – Khan, Shah Rukh Khan.
So what if Khan means ‘leader’ or ‘commander’ and that he is perhaps the most well known ‘Khan’ on the planet.
The hilarity, however, had only begun. After Indians protested, the US authorities claimed that this was a random screening and that thousands of people get screened every day.
Random? Private Jet… one in three people… with the family of the second ri
chest man in Asia… a hugely popular star who needs only a 0.278 second Google search to confirm… Perhaps the US foreign policy on India is devised by watching the country’s illogical commercial cinema for them to believe that the Indian public will buy any nonsense.
Shah Rukh Khan downplayed the incident with his characteristic wit saying, ‘Whenever I start feeling too arrogant, I take a trip to America. The immigration guys kick the star out of stardom.’
The film industry, aware of the King Khan‘s megalomania, would have smirked in acknowledgement at this tongue-in-cheek self-flagellation. Yet, for the umpteenth time, this incident has put the spotlight on the tornado called Islamophobia that has left no one untouched – presidents and superstars included.
Aamir Khan was strip-searched in 2002. Irffan Khan had so many trysts, especially in 2008 and 2009, that he dropped the surname Khan from his name.
If this happens to such globally affluent Muslims, one can only imagine the kind of ‘random’ search common Muslims are perhaps subjected to.
Ironically what has been used the most in spreading this Islamophobia, is the medium of cinema itself.
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