My name is Khan and I am not a terrorist. This catch dialogue from Shah Rukh Khan's movie My Name is Khan must have reverberated through actor Irrfan Khan's mind when he was stopped "several times" by the immigration authorities at the US airports.
Starring Irrfan Khan, Soha Ali Khan, Jimmy Shergil and Mahie Gill, Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns releases today.
"It's humiliating. They don't even
disclose the reason," says Irrfan, who is one of the most recognised actors from India in Hollywood having worked in Oscar-winner Slumdog Millionaire, Life of Pi and crowd pleaser Spider-Man.
"Actually, I don't use my surname Khan in films, but in passports, surname and religion are required. I was stopped not once, but several times at airports in the US.
"Once I told the immigration people, why do you issue visas, if you don't want to give us entry, and the man scowled at me saying --Are you threatening me?," Irrfan said on a TV show.
Irrfan was detained twice at the US airports-- at Los Angeles airport in 2008 and at New York airport in 2009.
But, he is not the only celebrity to face this problem. Shah Rukh, his co-star and producer in 'Billu', was infamously stopped at the Newark airport in 2009. He faced a similar problem last year at the New York airport.
Other prominent Indians who have gone through a similar ordeal are former President APJ Abdul Kalam, John Abraham, Neil Nitin Mukhesh and Kabir Khan to name a few.
The actor, who is currently starring in Tigmanshu Dhulia's 'Sahib, Biwi Aur Gangster Returns', says he is tired of facing this whenever he travels to US.
"The policemen with big guns just take you to a room and ask you to sit. They don't allow you to speak to anybody, nor use cellphones. And after long waits, they come and simply say --'Go, please go'.
"So now, I have told my hosts clearly that if I am stopped at the airport, I will just buy a ticket and return to India," said Irrfan.