Top Indian actor Shah Rukh Khan was Thursday stopped and detained by immigration authorities as he entered the U.S. at Los Angeles Airport. It is at least the third time the superstar has been hauled over by U.S. border control.
Khan was released without further hindrance. But it is not clear why or for how long he was questioned.
He later received an apology via Twitter from the U.S. Ambassador to India. “Sorry for the trouble at LAX @Iamsrk. We are working to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Your work inspires millions, including in the US.”
Indeed the whole incident appears to have been lived out on social media. Khan himself used Twitter to say: “I fully respect & understand security, with the way the world is, but to be detained by US immigration every damned time really really sucks.” Later he returned to the medium to joke that he had caught some Pokemon Go characters while being held.
Khan was previously taken aside for questioning in 2009 at Newark airport and was released two hours later after intervention by the Indian Embassy. In 2012 he was detained for 90 minutes at White Plains, near New York after flying in on a private jet.
While no explanations for the repeated detentions have been offered, suspicion appears to point to the U.S. security services’ zealous targeting of Muslims in the post 9/11 era. In 2010 Khan starred in the 20th Century Fox-backed “My Name Is Khan.” It featured Khan as an autistic Muslim man attempting to cross America in order to have a conversation with the U.S. President.
Known frequently as ‘SRK,’ Khan is a giant in India with film roles crafted for him and release schedules cleared to avoid clashes with his theatrical outings. Recent titles include “Fan,” “Happy New Year, and “Jab Tak Hai Jaan.” His 2014 effort “Dilwale” earned $4.8 million in North America, while his 2013 title “Chennai Express” earned more than $5 million stateside.
Khan has also proved highly adept at turning his fame and charm into a hugely valuable brand. In addition to acting, he has become one of India’s top TV hosts.
His Red Chillies company is frequently a co-producer of his titles and is a leading supplier of digital effects and services. And he is a noted media and sports investor. In 2014, Singapore based Wealth-X announced that Khan was the world’s second richest actor, with an estimated fortune of $600 million, behind only Jerry Seinfeld.