Uber co-founder and CEO found himself in a soup when he landed in India without a visa and was almost deported only to be saved from the embarrassment after a high-level intervention.
Travis Kalanick landed in New Delhi from Beijing in an early morning flight and while the flight wasn’t a problem, it turns out that CEO was stopped at the immigration for want for proper visa. Kalanick came to India to participate in the January 16 Startup India event in New Delhi.
So what happened? It turns out that the format in which dates are mentioned in the US and in India are different.
“I had the dates on the visa. On the Indian visa, they go the opposite direction. If they were in the US, so November 12 would be 11/12 in the US and 12/11 here (in India). There was a misunderstanding and I flew from Beijing into Delhi without a visa and it was a scary situation,” he said during a public interview held by NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant.
Kalanick was put back on the plane and he was being shunted back to China, but thanks to intervention of Home Secretary and the Director IB he managed to enter India and attend the event.
On the India tour, Kalanick hopped onto a Honda scooter to launch a new service as well as hobnobbed with cricketing icon Sachin Tendulkar and Bolloywood superstar Salman Khan.
Describing meeting Tendulkar in Mumbai as amazing, he said he loves cricket and for anybody to be “sitting next to an icon, somebody who is a champion at the highest level, is just an inspiring thing.”
He discussed the test match between India and England with Tendulkar at the star’s Mumbai home. “Learnt about a religion called cricket from the god himself!…” Kalanick tweeted after the meeting, attaching a photo of the celebrity.
He said he ran into Salman Khan and “spent some time and saw how movies were being made, it was amazing.”
“I am from Los Angeles and my parents are from Los Angeles. Los Angeles is new city. So, if your parents are from Los Angeles that basically means you are part of the founding team of the Los Angeles. And I have never been to a film studio,” he said.
On being asked if he would want to become a wrestler like Salman’s character in the film, Sultan, Kalanick said: “He is a strong big guy. I don’t think I want to wrestle him”.
Stating that he hasn’t watched a Bollywood movie recently, he said information he got after meeting Khan was that more content, more films, more movies, are being created now in Bollywood than Hollywood. “And that’s pretty interesting.”
Kalanick has previously visited India on a number of occasions, including spending time in Goa and Kerala. He also watch film being shot at the Film City.