IF THERE is perhaps one movie that Shah Rukh Khan could remove from his long-distinguished career it would be Maya Memsaab and he partially succeeded by later getting the original version edited.
The film, which was released on July 2, 1993, marks its 30th anniversary this week and it is highly unlikely that the superstar actor will want to draw any kind of attention to it, let alone celebrate the landmark.
He had signed the erotic Bollywood drama, based on Gustave Flaubert’s 1857 novel Madame Bovary, before properly commencing his film career, as a relative unknown. He was keen to sign a load of films to get noticed and ended up in this story of a woman, who takes on a series of lovers, including a younger man played by him.
When working on the movie, he couldn’t have expected the kind of unwanted attention it would draw. The nightmarish moment for the actor happens during an infamous scene in the largely forgotten film. That saucy movie moment saw him do an explicit love-making scene with co-star Deepa Sahi, which revealed her breasts and his backside. Aside from being X-rated and filled with nakedness, that scene is also unintentionally funny. Somehow, they got it past the censor board and the explicit version was made available. It would be magnified as his fame started to rapidly grow in subsequent years.
Shah Rukh Khan in Maya Memsaab with Deepa Sahi in the movieAlthough the film was a huge box-office disaster, it would repeatedly draw attention throughout the 1990s after Khan became the undisputed king of Bollywood with blockbuster hits like Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Dil To Pagal Hai and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. There were fake rumours in the press that he had spent a night with his costar Sahi ahead of the shoot and he would repeatedly get asked about that love-making scene. Video sales of Maya Memsaab, including pirated copies, started to soar, as he became more famous.
For some reason Khan would team up with Deepa Sahi and her dud director husband Ketan Mehta for flop 1995 film Oh Darling! Yeh Hai India, but thankfully for him that didn’t have any naughty scenes.
Later when the internet took over people’s lives, that love-making scene would be uploaded onto sites like YouTube and shared on social media.
It seemingly affected him in such a way that Khan would never do such a lovemaking scene in a movie again, and it wouldn’t be until the 2012 film Jab Tak Hain Jaan that he would kiss onscreen.
After he made his fortune, and started his company Red Chillies Entertainment, Khan started to buy whichever back-catalogue of his own movies was available and that included Maya Memsaab. This enabled him to only make a version available that didn’t have that sex scene. Those who have searched for it on Netflix have been left disappointed. It was ultimately the right thing to do and enabled people to focus on the film for the first time.
Although it was an early career break, and he now owns the movie, don’t expect Khan to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Maya Memsaab and don’t be surprised if that clip reappears.