They say no publicity is bad publicity. Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan might have gone through hell at the Newark Airport in New York but it can be a blessing in disguise in more ways than one. He has turned a global icon, though he paid a huge price with humiliation.
The fate is Shahrukh made a spash in US media. The New York Daily News reported that 'this never happened to Arnold Schwarzenegger'. The Washington Post referred Shahrukh as 'One of India's biggest movie stars' and the New York Times took note of the incident with an agency story headlined 'Bollywood Icon Detained at US Airport.'
The detention of Shahrukh in the US turned into a big issue, so much so that the Indian Government took it seriously. Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said that the Americans deserved to be paid back in the same coin for frisking beyond limits. BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad also said the detention was uncalled for.
Following the intervention of Ministry for External Affairs, U.S. envoy Timothy J. Roemer said in a bid to control damage that Shahrukh is 'a global icon" and is a very welcome guest in the United States. He heaped praises on him saying that Americans love his movies. He added that they are trying to ascertaining the circumstances which led to the detention of the actor.
People in the film industry were shocked by the way the Bollywood superstar was treated at the Newark airport. Film personalities like Karan Johar, Mahesh Bhatt, Raza Murad, Juhi Chawla, Farah Khan, Priyanka Chopra and others expressed their dismay over the incident.
It may be recalled that the Baadshah of Bollywood was frisked at the Newark airport recently when he went there to participate in the Indian Independence Day celebration. He was frisked and detained for two hours of questioning. He was not allowed to even make a call in spite of telling the police personnel that he is an Indian filmstar.
Shahrukh said that he was angry and humiliated. He added that he would never come back to America. He was freed only after the Indian Embassy in the US intervened. It may also be recalled that former Indian President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was frisked by an American Airline recently.
In the meantime, every American would come to know Shahrukh now because of the incident though he would never wish to garner such publicity in exchange for humiliation. The controversy could act as an opener for the Americans to respect the icons of other countries.
Now, Shahrukh"s humiliating ordeal should make his forthcoming film My Name is Khan a blockbuster. Coincidentally, it is based on terrorism and discrimination on the lines of religion.