Shah Rukh Khan has written an article for Outlook Turning Points magazine titled ‘Being a Khan,’ in association with The New York Times. In the article, Shah Rukh, who is one of the most famous faces of India, reveals what it is like to be a Muslim in a post-9/11 context, as well as how he is at times the subject of dirty communal politics by some Indian politicians. “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.” “There have been occasions when I have been accused of bearing allegiance to our neighbouring nation rather than my own country – this even though I am an Indian, whose father fought for the freedom of India. Rallies have been held where leaders have exhorted me to leave and return what they refer to my original homeland.”
Shah Rukh also talks about why he made My Name is Khan (2010), which is centred on Islamophobia and how Muslims are stereotyped as being ‘terrorists.’ Shah Rukh himself was detained at a US airport due to his surname. “Ironically, I was interrogated at the airport for hours about my last name when I was going to promote the film in America for the first time.”
Shah Rukh, whose wife Gauri is a Hindu follower, reveals how he gave his children names which would not lead to them being subjected to the same kind of suspicion that he faces when travelling abroad. However, he is also aware of the fact that his name will always be affiliated with them due to his star status. “I gave my son and daughter names that could pass for generic (pan-India and pan-religious) ones – Aryan and Suhana. The Khan has been bequeathed by me so they can’t really escape it.”
You can purchase a copy Outlook Turning Points magazine from all good Indian retailers if you would like to read Shah Rukh’s article in full.