Hurt Palekar hits out at NGMA
Veteran actor-director Amol Palekar, who was last week interrupted during his speech by some members of the National Gallery of Modern Art and asked to stick to the topic, on Sunday said he was hurt and that he was only trying to seek reasons behind the cancellation of retrospectives of two senior artists.
“I came to know that without any communication to the advisory committee, the next two retrospectives have been cancelled by NGMA's new director Anita Rupavataram. I wanted to raise these issues. How and when these decisions were taken, we wanted to know," he said.
The actor-filmmaker told reporters that the artistes' advisory committee at NGMA had approved holding of retrospectives of three artists -- of which Prabhakar Barwe's work was inaugurated on
Friday. (Retrospective is an exhibition or compilation showing the development of an artist's work over a period of time.)
At the opening of Barwe’s retrospective, Palekar was repeatedly interrupted during his speech by some NGMA members. “It is shocking. Propriety of my comments
is being objected to by the NGMA. Since I was talking about NGMA at their own venue and invited by the gallery itself, how can it be improper?" he wondered.
He further said that if the NGMA wanted him to talk only about the inauguration ceremony, then he should have been notified beforehand. He said he skipped portions of his speech after he was interrupted.
Palekar's wife Sandhya Gokhale was present during the press conference at Pune. Both of them said that the incident brings out and underscores the suppression of freedom of expression. Gokhale said that curator Jesal Thacker seemed to have been under pressure due to which she interrupted her husband’s speech repeatedly.
In a video of the same event at NGMA, a lady speaker is seen criticising Palekar for his critical remarks." .... he did raise all our concerns, but despite that you should appreciate that National Gallery of Modern Art is a government gallery, sir," she told Palekar.
The senior actor went on to mention that writer Nayantara Sahgal was invited to speak at the Marathi literary convention recently but at the last minute the invitation was withdrawn because what she was going to say "was slightly critical of the situation around us."
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said this was not an isolated incident and that it was being "deliberately" done for the last five years.