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08-17-2009, 12:56 PM #1
After 20 minutes of interrogation, you are bound to lose your cool: Kabir Khan
When you google Shah Rukh Khan's name you get innumerable search results including pictures and everything else you want to know about the man. Why then would authorities at Newark airport take two hours to figure out that he is no threat? In my view it's pure harassment. I have been through a few such experiences during my visits to the US and so I can vouch for it. Once I was made to sit in the plane itself, not allowed to alight and grilled along with a few other passengers for five and a half hours.
At other times, they call you to the detention room and fiddle with your passport for the longest time. Once they check your passport, they move you to a secondary room, where they ask some of the most inane questions -- why have you come to the country, have you ever been involved with a radical outfit, etc. Would anyone involved with a radical organisation admit to it? Or would a terrorist disclose his purpose of visit?
It's a nonsensical procedure. After 20 minutes of interrogation, you are bound to lose your cool and when you do they make it even more difficult for you. I can imagine Shah Rukh trying to explain to them that he is a popular film star and for all you know they must have been ticked off about it. "So what if you are a super star?," must have been their reaction. And then they must have harassed him even more.
No one has a problem with security. If anything it's a must. But it's the way security is conducted in the US that makes it such a sham. Grilling someone named Osama is stupid because not every person named Osama is going to detonate a bomb. The security measures are in fact counter-productive. In Shah Rukh's case for example a lot of his fans are now going to be prejudiced against US security measures. Besides, if Shah Rukh refuses to shoot another movie in the US, they lose out on revenue and tourism.
I am surprised that in the eight years since 9/11, America hasn't learnt anything about security checks from their Israeli friends. I have been to Israel and believe me, they are a lot more finicky about security. But their method of conducting it is not at all in-your-face, like in the US. They take every possible security measure at airports without offending any visiting tourists.
Every time I am at a US airport, I am anxious and hoping that I am not detained. Not being detained comes as a pleasant surprise. Those few minutes at the airport can be quite excruciating. Unless I have to shoot a film in the US and can't do it anywhere else, I am not terribly excited about going there anymore. I have nothing against the people it's the authorities that are a pain. I wouldn't want my kids to go through such an ordeal."