Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - Hhttnation - HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­[email protected]­dus­tan­

PUNE: Amol Palekar, a vet­eran film per­son­al­ity, said he is now “rest­less” and “hurt” over the man­ner in which he was fre­quently in­ter­rupted dur­ing a speech he at­tempted to de­liver at the Na­tional Gallery of Mod­ern Art on Fri­day.

The cu­ra­tor of the gallery, Je­sal Thacker, in­ter­rupted Palekar dur­ing the speech, re­quest­ing him to stick to the talk­ing about the event - artist Prab­hakar Barwe’s ret­ro­spec­tive - caus­ing the ac­tor to cut-short his talk.

Ad­dress­ing a press con­fer­ence in Pune on Sun­day, Palekar said that since he was not given any spe­cific brief by the gallery on what he should speak on, there was no question of “pro­pri­ety”, as citied by or­gan­is­ers. “If I was in­formed ear­lier what to speak on, I would have had the op­tion of not ac­cept­ing the in­vi­ta­tion,” said Palekar. “I feel rest­less that no one in the au­di­ence thought of speak­ing out, or no one said, let Palekar speak my mind.”

Palekar crit­i­cised the min­istry of cul­ture for re­port­edly scrap­ping an ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee for the na­tional gal­leries in Mum­bai and Bengaluru. That was when the cu­ra­tor of the Mum­bai gallery, Thacker, in­ter­rupted him.

Post Amol Palekar’s press con­fer­ence, the in­ci­dent quickly gained a po­lit­i­cal hue with se­nior NCP leader and Bara­mati MP Supriya Sule stat­ing, “This is a sign of an un­de­clared emer­gency in the coun­try. Our democ­racy holds free­dom of speech as a fun­da­men­tal right of the cit­i­zens. Who is shoot­ing guns from the shoul­der of the min­istry of cul­ture?,” she asked.

MNS leader and for­mer MLA Nitin Sarde­sai also is­sued a state­ment, say­ing, “This has been go­ing on for quite some time and people have started re­al­is­ing it only over the last one year or so. We are of the view that the artists must come out in the open to air their views as they are the opin­ion mak­ers.”

Amol Palekar

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