A video of veteran actor Amol Palekar not being allowed to speak by a woman, a civil servant, sitting on the podium has gone viral on social media platforms. In the video, Palekar is seen speaking at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Mumbai.
While speaking at the opening of an exhibition ‘Inside The Empty Box’ in memory of artist Prabhakar Barwe, Palekar criticised the Ministry of Culture for reportedly scrapping the advisory committees at the gallery’s Mumbai and Bengaluru centres.
Palekar, according to news agency PTI, had 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.”
He then added, “However, on 13 November, another disastrous decision was apparently taken.” It was at this juncture when the woman in question interrupted and asked Palekar to stick to the topic.
The woman civil servant, identified as Anita Rupavataram, said, “The function is about Prabhakar Barwe, you please stick to that.” Palekar replied, “Yes, I am relating it to Prabhakar Barwe.” But this was not acceptable to the woman in question, who kept heckling Palekar.
An angry Palekar then asked, “Are you asking me to not speak?” He went on to remind the audience that writer Nayantara Sahgal was recently invited to speak at the Marathi literary convention but the invitation was withdrawn at the last minute because what she was going to say “was slightly critical of the situation around us.” “Are we creating the same situation here?” he asked.
The video has evoked angry reactions from social media users.
Veteran Actor and Film Maker Amol Palekar being rudely cut off and asked to shut up just because he was mildly critical of Ministry of Culture. There is no Intolerance. Only sycophancy is tolerated pic.twitter.com/pFN6rhQ1g9
— Joy (@Joydas) February 9, 2019
Just got this video of one of my favourite actors, Amol Palekar, being cut off while ruing the loss of independence in art at @mumbai_ngma simply because he seemed critical of a Ministry of Culture/NGMA decision.
— Annu Tandon (@AnnuTandonUnnao) February 9, 2019
So celebrated actor director Amol Palekar is invited to an NGMA event in Mumbai and then stopped from speaking when he seeks to raise his concerns.. Nayantara Sahgal last month, now Amol.. why invite someone and then stop them from speaking their mind? https://t.co/QnXTuDigIv
— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) February 10, 2019
The Mumbai Congress too tweeted saying that it was shocking to see a veteran actor not allowed to speak at the event.