Indian thesps fly unfriendly skies

Stars urged to be low-key during flight

NEW DELHI — Indian movie stars appearing in an extravaganza in Malaysia and Singapore later this week have been told not to crack jokes or sing on the flight, after an incident in which an Indian actress sparked a terror alert on a flight to New York.

The South Indian Actors Assn. also issued a dress code to its film stars who are going to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to give cultural performances Friday and Saturday.

Heavily built actors who play villains have been told not to flex their muscles or jokingly push around other cast members, “as it can raise the suspicion of airline crew,” an official said.

He said the SIAA did not want to attract the attention of foreign security agencies who have been on alert since the Sept. 11 attacks.

‘Suspicious activity’

Last week, South Indian actress Samyuktha Verma and seven members of her entourage were questioned by U.S. law enforcement agencies after a passenger on their American Trans Air flight reported “suspicious activity.”

Group members, on their way to New York from Chicago for a cultural function, were seen passing notes, changing seats and mimicking some actors — apparently rehearsing their roles in the event.

The U.S. aviation authorities were alerted, and the plane was escorted to the airport by two military F-16s. The group was released after being questioned.

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