6 May 2009
New Delhi: Noted film actor and Padmasree awardee Mammootty was detained by US homeland security for around two hours at the JFK airport over his passport name.
The actor was released only after the intervention of the Indian consulate. The incident happened on 29th of April when Mammootty arrived at JFK airport, New York, in a British Airways flight BA 113 from Chennai.
Name of Mammooty as it appears in his passport is Mohammedkutty Ismail Paniparambil. According to reports Mammootty was detained because of the name Mohammed Ismail for which an alert has been sounded in British and US airports.
Mammootty was released after an official from the Indian consulate reached the airport.
Mammooty was in New York to attend fundraising meetings in favour of his childhood friend Stanley Kulathara who is standing in for New York city council elections. Meetings were planned in Queens, Long Island and New Jersey as part of the campaign.
External Affairs Minister E. Ahmed said he has taken steps to ensure that no other Indian celebrities face such issues in the future when they arrive in US airports.