It’s fair to say that the neighbouring countries of India and Pakistan have had their share of misunderstandings over the years. The latest dispute has not been over Kashmir, nor cricket, but Khan – Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan, to be exact.
A first-person article about life as a Muslim in India, penned by Khan, is where it all began. In it he wrote, “I sometimes become the inadvertent object of political leaders who choose to make me a symbol of all that they think is wrong and unpatriotic about Muslims in India.”
Strong words undoubtedly, but only words just the same. Yet on Monday, this proved to be the catalyst for Pakistan to voice its concerns. Their Interior Minister, Rahman Malik, made it clear that they felt India wasn’t giving adequate protection to the actor, saying that he was “born Indian and he will remain Indian, but I will request the government of India (to) please provide him with security… all those who are talking in a negative way about Shah Rukh, they should know he is a movie star.”
Indian Home Secretary RK Singh responded on Tuesday by dismissing these comments, while Khan himself has since gone on record saying he is “extremely safe and happy.” Although he does have family heritage in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, along with a huge following throughout the nation, he felt his writing had been given an “unwarranted twist.”
With over 70 films to his credit, the man some know simply as SRK has built a huge fanbase the world over, with his career extending into TV presenting and advertisements. Away from the cameras he is also the owner of the Kolkata Knight Riders, who compete in cricket’s lucrative Indian Premier League.
Khan has indirectly courted controversy in the past, as he was once wrongly interrogated at a US airport in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.