Delhi-based artist Pranava Prakash, who was allegedly assaulted by a group of youngsters at a Noida gallery for painting nudes of celebrities such as Vidya Balan and Poonam Pandey, says he is a “soft target.”
“I only wanted to show how Bollywood influences the common man’s life and how people get inspired by these personalities,” says the 32-year-old artist.
His latest exhibition, Bollywood Unlimited, shows actors Vidya Balan and Malaika Arora Khan half-naked, and model Poonam Pandey completely nude, wearing an Anna cap and holding the Tricolour.
Prakash says that he was recently attacked at gallery Espace Alternative in Noida by a group of five guys who damaged his work and slapped him twice “for making such paintings”. “The exhibition was first running at Rafi Marg, and everything went well there. There were some visitors who questioned my art, but never turned violent. After I shifted my exhibition to this gallery, I got beaten up.”
He says there was no security at the gallery during that time, and since there were no CCTV cameras, they were not able to identify the attackers. Prakash, who is yet to file a police complaint, says it’s time people stopped disrespecting creative freedom. “Those who were at the Art Fair would know how controversial art can get ... this was nothing in comparison.”