There was a much talked about incident last Friday when notable Indian actor, director and producer Amol Palekar was interrupted during his speech on stage for criticizing recent changes in the administration. Palekar was attending as as chief guest at the event where he started to make anti-government statements and was heckled.
On Sunday, he held a press conference with his wife, talking about the incident. He also expressed disappointment over the reactions of fellow artists present at the event which he said left him “shocked and deeply hurt”.
“When I wrote the speech and included these pertinent issues about running of NGMA, I thought that I would be applauded by the artists on the dais and in the audience for raising issues affecting them. However, when artists like Suhas Bahulkar and Jasel Thacker requested me to stop, I was shocked,” said Palekar to Indian Express.
Suhas Bahulkar is a prominent artist who did his G. D. Art from Sir J. J. School of Art (1975) and worked as a lecturer there till 1995. Curator Jesal Thacker, who is an artist by training has a degree in painting from the same school and engages in research on modern and contemporary art. Clarifying her stance, Jesal pointed out that her intention was not to “oppose him in his views” but solely wanted him to focus on Prabhakar Barve.
Palekar however said that he had not received any instructions from the organizers about the topics he could speak on, and added that he would have refused to attend had he known about such restrictions.