Amol Palekar calls out censorship after being interrupted at Culture Ministry event

Esequiel Farfan
Febrero 12, 2019

Veteran actor Amol Palekar recently attended the Cultural event wherein he was invited to speak about the renowned artist Prabhakar Barwe and his art forms. In the video, Palekar is seen speaking at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Mumbai. I wanted to raise these issues.

"This event was at NGMA, which was also organising the retrospective".

He added that although he did not wish to, he had to cut his speech short out of respect for Thacker, who had invited him, as it must have put her in a precarious situation because she had worked hard and for a long time to organise the event.

But since the ministry of culture dissolved the committee and made a decision to take control over the gallery's activities, Palekar claimed, "Many of you may not know that this retrospective (the exhibition) will be the last show that is 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". Are you trying to create a similar situation by stopping me from speaking here?

Palekar also mentioned that he was shocked that the proposed retrospectives of two other artists, Sudhir Patwardhan and Mehlli Gobhai, which had been approved earlier, have been cancelled. "If you don't want me to speak, I won't speak". The director kept telling me to "stick to Barve", and said that I could have talked about this to her in her cabin.

Adwait Gadnayak, the director general, NGMA, issued a clarification refuting several allegations levelled by Palekar.

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While he stated what he had learnt about the advisory committees in Mumbai and Bengaluru being abolished, he took a stand against the decision by calling out to them terming this event as the last one planned by the committee and not by some bureaucrat or government official with the aim of moral policing and proliferating certain ideological art forms. 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.

"The new advisory committee will take a decision related to future exhibitions".

With regard to permanent collections, the ministry said the gallery had proposed to display its own collections initially over a two-year period.

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.

According to the news website, in a statement issued on Saturday evening, Jesal Thacker said, "My intention was not to prevent Amol from finishing his speech, but instead only requested him to share more about his anecdotes and fond memories of the artist.Views that are not directly related to the subject of the evening - the art and life of Barwe - can always be expressed at another platform appropriate for that specific concern".

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