Amol Palekar Repeatedly Interrupted During Speech At Mumbai Event For Criticising Government

In a video Amol Palekar is heard asking Thacker “Are you asking me not to speak? You have invited me to speak and applying censorship my speech?”

In a video Amol Palekar is heard asking Thacker “Are you asking me not to speak? You have invited me to speak and applying censorship my speech?”

Two days after a controversy erupted over alleged censorship of his speech during a retrospective of late modernist movement pioneer Prabhakar Barwe at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) in Mumbai, actor-filmmaker Amol Palekar asserted that he was only seeking reasons behind alleged cancellation of retrospectives of two senior artists. "I will confront the government on the changes", he said.

The video has evoked angry reactions from social media users.

At this point, an NGMA member on the stage, Suhas Bahulkar interrupted, saying that Palekar should talk about the event. He said the NGMA director repeatedly interrupted him during his speech when he tried to speak against the arbitrary decisions taken by the government regarding the gallery. He said he would have rejected the invitation if any such message had been conveyed to him. He, however, added that he would have backed out of speaking at Barwe's retrospective had he been briefed in advance about "restrictions" in speech. I must state here that I spoke at length about Barve and also shared a few anecdotes before turning to the issues pertaining to the management of the NGMA.

"There was no briefing from the curator, who invited me as a speaker, on the topic of my speech". "Since separate occasions are not made for necessary discussions, and the need is dire, I respect anyone who takes the ownership of raising the issue", she said. According to a decision taken by the NGMA director general in November a year ago, only one-sixth of the gallery's total area, or the dome area, will be now available for external shows, the Mumbai Mirror reported. Are you trying to create a similar situation here by stopping me from speaking? "Not just the new artists, but the recent works of the renowned artists, too, would not get proper place at NGMA due to this decision", he said. "If I can not speak about these issues at the NGMA during a retrospective where else should I voice it?"

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"I am going to talk about the same". NGMA had an advisory committee comprising local artists, which decided on the exhibitions to be held at its Bengaluru and Mumbai centres but, since October, it has been placed directly under the Union ministry of culture. Their terms ended recently and they are in the process of being reconstituted.

"As of November 13, 2018, the artistes' advisory committees operating at both regional centres, that is at Mumbai and Bangalore have been abolished, is what I have learnt".

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.

With regard to permanent collections, the ministry said the gallery had proposed to display its own collections initially over a two-year period. Some artists have expressed their apprehensions about availability of less space for temporary exhibitions and retrospectives. "The NGMA is deliberating on suggestions received from artists, and a final decision will be taken shortly in consultation with all stakeholders".

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