Amol Palekar Speech Cut Off-Midway At Mumbai Event As He Raises Concern Over Censorship

| February 10 , 2019 , 16:56 IST

A video of veteran actor Amol Palekar not being allowed to speak by a woman civil servant sitting on the podium as he criticized recent developments at National Gallery of Modern Art has gone viral on social media platforms.

In the video, Palekar is seen speaking at the NGMA on the occasion of the opening of an exhibition "Inside The Empty Box" in the memory of artist Prabhakar Barwe.

Palekar had described the culture ministry’s decision to disband the advisory committees of local artists at the NGMA’s galleries in Mumbai and Bangalore and to assume control over these galleries as “disastrous”. Video footage of the event was shared widely on social media on Saturday.

Amol in his speech said, "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"

Over the course of this speech, he was interrupted multiple times. First, artist and former chairman of the advisory committee in Mumbai, Suhas Bahulkar, asked him to stick to speaking about Barwe and his work.

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When interrupted by show curator Jesal Thacker, Palekar said he was reminded of how writer Nayantara Sahgal’s invitation to attend a Marathi literary event was withdrawn because her speech was critical of the current political environment.

Palekar was finally unable to deliver the full speech he had prepared and concluded it early. The video has evoked angry reactions from social media users. The Mumbai Congress too tweeted saying that it was shocking to see a veteran actor not allowed to speak at the event.