New Delhi, May 7, 2009: Renowned Malyalam actor Mammootty was intensely grilled at New York airport for being a Muslim. This is not the first time that a leading Indian actor was racially profiled in the US. Karan Johar who is making a big budget film My Name Is Khan with Shah Rukh Khan in the lead role faced similar problem when a Muslim actor was not allowed entry in the US over his Muslim name. Mammootty whose full name is Muhammad Kutty Ismail Paniparambil is an award winning Indian film actor and producer. During a career spanning more than quarter of a century, he has acted in more than 300 films as the lead actor in Malayalam movies, a distinction he shares with Prem Nazir.
Mammootty is considered by many critics to be one of the finest actors in Indian cinema who excels in both art and commercial films.
Mammootty received many major awards for his performance. These include three National awards, four State awards and eight Filmfare Awards in the best actor category. He is the only actor apart from Kamal Haasan to win National Film Award for Best Actor three times. In 1998, the Government of India honored him with Padma Shri for his outstanding contributions to Indian cinema and the University of Kerala honored him by giving honorary Doctorate in 2008.
Mammootty is also the Chairman of Malayalam Communications, which runs popular Malayalam TV channels like Kairali TV, People TV and We TV. After a survey among its readers, Vanitha magazine selected Mammootty as the actor with the most sex appeal.
The actor was reportedly separated for questioning for more than two hours on April 29 after he arrived in New York by a British Airways flight. Mammootty had gone there to raise funds for his friend Stanley Kalathara, who’s contesting the election in NYC council.
Reports say that a cool Mammootty told the investigators about his background and the fact that he was a leading film actor in India.
After intense grilling of more than two hours Mammootty was cleared for entry into the US.
In the post-September 11, 2001 environment, the category of ‘terrorist’ has emerged as a racialized construct in which men perceived to be Muslim, Arab, Middle Eastern, or South Asian are classified as ‘terrorist Others,'” reads the “Americans on Hold: Profiling, Citizenship, and the ‘War on Terror'” report.
By Khabrein.Info Correspondent, 7 May 2009