The Indian Constitution dictates under Article 19(1)(a) that “all citizens shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression.” But, well.
Veteran actor Amol Palekar, who was speaking at the exhibition opening of “Inside The Empty Box” in the memory of artist Prabhakar Barwe, at the The National Gallery of Modern Art(NAGMA), Mumbai, found his speech cut short and censored as he criticized recent developments at NAGMA.
Palekar, who is a painter himself, and was a close friend of Barwe — made critical remarks about reportedly scrapping the advisory committees at the gallery’s Mumbai and Bengaluru centres. He was repeatedly interrupted following this and asked to restrict his comments to the exhibition alone.
A video of him being interrupted at the cultural ministry event soon started becoming viral on social media, following this.
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
NAGMA director, Anita Rupavataram in a video of the entire speech can be seen repeatedly asking Palker to stick to “Barwe’s work”. Palekar can be seen responding with, “Are you trying to stop me from speaking and applying censorship on my speech?”
Palekar also went on to mention that writer Nayantara Sahgal, who was recently invited to speak at the Marathi literary convention recently but at the last minute the invitation was withdrawn because what she was going to say “was slightly critical of the situation around us.” “Are we creating the same situation here?” he asked.
On the request of the curator, Jesal Thacker, Palekar cut short his speech and walked off the podium.
As the video went viral on social media, several people came out in support of Palker.
So celebrated actor director Amol Palekar is invited to an NGMA event in Mumbai and then stopped from speaking when he seeks to raise his concerns.. Nayantara Sahgal last month, now Amol.. why invite someone and then stop them from speaking their mind? https://t.co/QnXTuDigIv
— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) February 10, 2019
Even more shameful is that there were people in audience who apparently support art, culture, films and allowed Amol Palekar to be humiliated like this by Sycophants of Government https://t.co/6Edu0W724u
— Joy (@Joydas) February 9, 2019