Amol Palekar expressed disappointment at "constant interruptions" faced during his speech
Addressing a press conference regarding the controversy along with his wife and "first-hand witness" to the event Sandhya Gokhale, Palekar said he wasn't briefed on the event beforehand.
“I was invited as a speaker to the event and everyone saw what happened. I was asked not to speak, and was interrupted in between. The simple thing is, when you invite some speaker you should tell him what to speak about and what not to. Nothing as such was given or briefed to me”, he told media present here.
Recalling the incident, Palekar said, “I started speaking about NGMA guidelines and the changes that have taken place in it. If speaking about NGMA itself is not relevant I don't understand what is".
“The Director was present there and she said that I should have spoken to her before speaking this here. I asked whether my script would be censored before I speak. I even told them that I wanted to thank the Ministry of Culture for the magnanimity of culture for showing this exhibition. She said she doesn’t want any backhanded compliment like this and left," he added.
“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,” Palekar noted.
The 74-year-old had on Friday attended ‘Inside the Empty Box’, an exhibition held in honour of renowned artist Prabhakar Barwe. While addressing the gathering, he had allegedly criticised the Ministry of Culture for scrapping the local artists’ advisory committees at the gallery’s centres in Mumbai and Bengaluru.
This was interrupted by members present at the event, including artist and former chairman of the advisory committee in Mumbai, Suhas Bahulkar and show curator Jesal Thacker, who asked him to keep his discussion limited to the artist and the exhibition. This, Palekar said, was a form of censorship.
A video of the incident has surfaced on social media, which, Sandhya said, was shot by her.