Two Bangladeshi men lived in New Delhi airport for 48 days as they did not have passports to return home in a reprise of a role played by Tom Hanks in the Hollywood film "The Terminal", a newspaper said on Thursday.

The men were sent back to the Indian capital by Saudi Arabian authorities in March for arriving without proper papers on a Dhaka-Delhi-Riyadh Air India flight, the Times of India newspaper reported.

Saudi Arabia keeps passports of such visitors and sends them back with emergency travel certificates, the daily quoted an airline spokesman as saying.

But with Dhaka not allowing people without passports to enter the country, the men who had left their homes hoping for lucrative jobs in Saudi Arabia were stuck in the transit lounge of Delhi's Indira Gandhi airport.

"They got so bored here that they would often request the eatery staff to give them some work - not to earn money but to pass time," the paper quoted an airport official as saying.

Air India spent about $2,500 (1,250 pounds) to feed them and pay for their visits to hospitals for medical check-ups under police escort before the Bangladesh mission issued new passports last week and ended their ordeal, it said.

In the 2004 Steven Spielberg film, Tom Hanks plays a traveller from a fictional East European country stuck in New York's JFK airport terminal after his passport is revoked following a coup back home.

That film was inspired by the true story of an Iranian-born man who had until then lived in Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport for 16 years.