Noted actor and filmmaker Amol Palekar opened up about the free speech controversy that erupted after his lecture at the opening of an exhibition at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA). At the event, the veteran actor was interrupted repeatedly by people like Suhas Bahulkar (artist and former chairman of the advisory committee in Mumbai), and the show curator Jesal Thacker.
Addressing a press conference in Pune on Sunday, Palekar said, “I was invited as one of the speakers at the event by the NGMA, while speaking there, I was interrupted, I was requested not to speak about this, and you have all seen the video, you know what happened.”
Palekar added, “I was not permitted to deliver the lecture, I couldn’t complete… so many questions have started arising so we are here to address those.”
The actor-filmmaker rued that the new rules and regulations are somewhere hampering freedom of expression.
ANI quoted Palekar as saying, “The director was present there and she even said that I should have spoken to her before speaking this here. I even replied whether my script would be censored before I speak. I 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 backhand compliment like this and left.”
Palekar also said had the organisers given him a brief that he should not speak critical about the government policies he “would have not accepted the invite to inaugurate the retrospective at NGMA.”
Many personalities from the Indian film industry like Alankrita Shrivastava and Onir have expressed solidarity with Palekar.