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Tribute to Dr. Sunil Kothari
- VP Dhananjayan

January 23, 2021

Our long and lasting association with Sunilji goes back to 1956-57 when Kalakshetra troupe used to perform regularly in Bombay (now Mumbai) in Shanmukhananda Sangeetha Sabha and Chembur Fine Arts. As a young boy doing his Chartered Accountancy, he showed great interest in performing arts and used to nag us to teach him nuances of Bharatanaatyam. Especially, I remember him spending a lot of time with us in the dormitory accommodation at Tamizh Sangam building in Mumbai and learning the Abhinaya Darpana theoretical slokas and their practical applications from us. Later, he frequently visited Kalakshetra for every art festival and imbibed a great deal.

Photo: Avinash Pasricha

He was a friend to every artiste irrespective of age and experience. His interactions with artistes used to be so indulgent to the brink of someone avoiding him, though he was not at all harmful in any way. I don't think there was any one art critic from Bhaarat other than Dr. Sunil Kothari whose presence was evident in global seminars and conferences on Bhaarateeya performing arts and reports on all such events in our press.

His erudite and research oriented scholarship is evident in all his books, especially Marg publications on various Naatya forms of Bhaarata. They are indeed monumental and useful for generations to come. There is no doubt whatsoever that Dr. Sunil Kothari's contributions to the preservation and popularisation of Bhaarateeya Kala and Samskaar are invaluable and etched in golden letters in the history book of Naatya traditions. The artiste fraternity in Bhaarat appreciates and thanks Apsaras Arts (Singapore) and other organizations for organizing events in memory of a legendary art critic and scholar who will be remembered for long and missed amidst his admirers.

Naatyaachaarya V.P. Dhananjayan is the founder-director of Bharatakalanjali, Chennai.

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