On Friday, U.S. authorities at White Plains airport new New York detained Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan for an hour and a half. India reacted angrily with its foreign minister declaring: "[this] policy of detention and apology by the U.S. cannot continue." This is not a first for Shah Rukh Khan. Back in August 2009, he was held for two hours at New Jersey’s Newark airport.
Here's a transcript of what Khan said to Fareed Zakaria after that first detention:
Fareed Zakaria: First, tell us about this incident. So you are, without any question, the biggest movie star in India, a billion fans some people say, and you get to Newark Airport and what happens?
Shah Rukh Khan: You know, normally I am kind of used to having extra security checks, perhaps because of the name or the way profiling is done, even my kids, so I'm used to it. It's not something new.
Fareed Zakaria: They thought your fans were sort of being unruly or –
Shah Rukh Khan: Yes, I guess - suddenly they started asking questions, what are you doing here and do you have a telephone number? I was going to give yours. Yes? I took out my phone and they were a little angry about me taking out my phone. So I said, I can't give you a number until I find them out.
So I sort of gave a few numbers and then they would go in, check, then they came and said what are you doing here? And so I said I've came here for a film. There were some strange questions like if you're a film actor - I've come for a live talk, and they said if you have come for a talk, how can you be a movie star? So I said, you know, I talk also and am in acting films.
So it just got out of hand, and I guess it was a process, so they went on and on - and it took a couple of hours.
Fareed Zakaria: But you feel like you have had experiences like this before?
Shah Rukh Khan: Not quite like this - not at the immigrations, but at security. Initially, post 9/11, I think, yes, there were instances when I guess your boarding pass gets written on it, so you're taken on to the other side and you take off your shoes and stuff, yes?
Fareed Zakaria: Even your kids?
Shah Rukh Khan: Oh, yes, yes. They get very excited, because, you know, they get to put their feet on those little marks and stand like that. So they think they're being special.
Fareed Zakaria: Now, you're very relaxed about it. Does it not anger you, I mean, that you're –
Shah Rukh Khan: No. I said it before, Fareed. Like, you know, if I'm planning to come to your house, I have to follow the rules. It's as simple as that. I'm very practical like that. So I'm like, OK. I said, "If I have to come to your house and you have a rule that I need to take off my shoes before I walk into your study, then I do that."
But I just had an issue that, you know, for a country which has such outstanding processes and systems for everything, and they have a process and system for, you know, profiling people who are perhaps on a marked list, they should also have a system where people who come regularly, they should also be marked positively. And so OK, you know, you can go –
Fareed Zakaria: Do you think this affects America's image in - I mean, you're - you're somebody who understands the power of images.
Shah Rukh Khan: Yes.
Fareed Zakaria: Does it affect America's image in a country like India?
Shah Rukh Khan: Oh, yes. I think so. Yes. I think all over the world. I think, specifically, if I can just take one - because I'm an entertainer, so I would take, say, tourism, you know? Just that way. You come to have fun, you want to go to Orlando, you know, go to the Disney or whatever, when you think about it, like I do now, I take them to Europe now, my kids, if I need to.... So you do think twice. I think it does affect the image, and I'm sure it's in a lot of places also, not just wanting to come to Disney. I'm sure it goes beyond that also.
Fareed Zakaria: And this is a big change, right? Because, I mean, 20 years ago, 30 years ago when I was growing up in India, America was the land of openness, of freedom, a sense of adventure.
Shah Rukh Khan: Absolutely. I think, it still is looked upon like that. And, you know, everybody wants to come to America, everybody loves America and has all the nicest things. Whether it's technology or businesses, whatever. It's the land of opportunity. And suddenly, the opportunity gets a little curtailed because of this. And you do think twice. And you know, would it affect me negatively, would it affect the family negatively?