Mumbai: Members of the National Gallery of Modern Art interrupted Amol Palekar when he was giving a speech at an art event in Mumbai. He was present at the opening of an exhibition “Inside the empty box” exhibited in the memory of artist Prabhakar Barwe.
A video was doing rounds on social media that showed Amol Palekar criticizing the Ministry of Culture for scrapping off advisory committee from Mumbai and Bengaluru’s center.
“Many of you may not know that this retrospective will be the last show decided by the advisory committee of local artists and not by some bureaucrat or an agent of the government with an agenda of either moral policing or proliferation of certain art commensurate with an ideological incline,” Amol Palekar said in the speech.
Just got this video of one of my favourite actors, Amol Palekar, being cut off while ruing the loss of independence in art at @mumbai_ngma simply because he seemed critical of a Ministry of Culture/NGMA decision.
— Annu Tandon (@AnnuTandonUnnao) February 9, 2019
As of November 13, 2018, the artistes’ advisory committees at both regional centers Mumbai and Bangalore have been abolished, is what I have learned,” he said.
He added that he was “in the process of verifying the hearsay”. At this point, a gallery member on stage interrupted, saying that Amol Palekar should talk about the event.
“I am going to talk about the same. Are you applying censorship to that,” Mr. Palekar responded,
He then said that as per his information, after the abolition of local artists’ committee, decisions as to whose work should be exhibited would be taken from Delhi by the Ministry of Culture.
He was again interrupted by a woman, who said, “This is not needed at the moment, sorry…The function is about Prabhakar Barwe, please stick to that.”
After being interrupted several times, the veteran refused to stop from criticizing and went on by saying that writer Nayantara Sahgal was invited at a Marathi Literary event but the invitation was drawn back at the last moment as she was going to say something that was a bit critical of the situation around us.
“Are we creating the same situation here?” he asked.
Interrupting a veteran followed angry reactions on Twitter.
The whole essence of our democracy, our constitutional rights, is the freedom to criticise the government and its leaders. No one is above criticism. This behaviour with Amol Palekar is undemocratic and highly condemnable. https://t.co/ls8EDllrza
— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) February 10, 2019