MUMBAI: Whichever government might be in power, but I shall continue to fight against contradicting voices being muzzled, veteran actor-director Amol Palekar has said.
While speaking at a function at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) in Mumbai on Friday, Palekar was repeatedly interrupted. On the backdrop of the incident Palekar addressed a press conference along with wife Adv Sandhya Gokhale in Pune on Sunday.
"In this country people are now being directed on what they should eat and what should be their attire. Voice raised against this is muzzled by the government. This has increased the intolerance," Palekar said while addressing the press.
"Whether there are elections or not and whichever government might come to power, his fight against censorship shall continue," he added. While clarifying his stand, Palekar said that he just can't accept voices being muzzled.
"When I was invited at the program I wasn't told what I should speak and what I shouldn't. Had they done so, I should have avoided going there. I'm disturbed after what happened there. I can't accept being muzzled. I'm opposed to censor. Such things happened even before 2014. But, now their numbers have increased," Palekar said.
"A day has passed after the incident, yet there has been no official reaction over it has come. This is the example of the dark era. Some young people met me at the program. They congratulated me for what I spoke there. But, I'm puzzled whether the babus sitting in Delhi would now decide whether those who speak against the government should be allowed," he added while commenting on the government apathy on issues like these.
"I was repeatedly interrupted. I was tagged of impropriety and wasn't allowed to speak. But, if I wasn't told what I should speak and what I should avoid ahead of the program how does it become improper? Also, I was just trying to raise issue of retrospectives of two artists being cancelled. How can it become impropriety in program of an institution that organizes them?" Palekar asked.
Palekar was speaking at the opening of an exhibition 'Inside the empty box' in the memory of artist Prabhakar Barwe. These kinds of exhibition or compilation showing the development of an artist's work over a period of time are called retrospective.
"This retrospective is 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," Palekar said.
"In all three retrospectives were to be organized. But I came to know that without any communication to the committee, the next two retrospectives have been cancelled by Mumbai NGMA's new director Anita Rupavataram. I wanted to raise these issues. How and when these decisions were taken, we wanted to know," he added.
Palekar was repeatedly interrupted by some NGMA members including Jesal Thacker Suhas Bahulkar, a video of which went viral on the social media on Sunday. Palekar, who refused to stop after being interrupted, 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".