Singapore Indian dance fraternity pays tribute to Dr Sunil Kothari

By Soumee De On a rainy afternoon on January 10th 2021, notwithstanding the wrath of the heavy rains at Singapore, dancers, friends and well wishers gathered to remember and pay tribute to Dr Sunil Kothari and reminisce the legacy he has left in the universe of Indian performing arts transcending borders.

Hosted by Apsaras Arts at the Goodman Arts Center main studio, the event opened with an inaugural message by Ambassador Kesavapani, Chairman of the Board, Apsaras Arts in the presence of the Indian High Commissioner H.E Mr P. Kumaran. The afternoon’s host, Seema Hari Kumar opened with observing a minute of silence and welcomed the esteemed speakers to share their personal memories of Dr Kothari. Smt Shantha Ratii spoke of her there decades’ of strong friendship through a moving speech, “To the world he was a dance historian, author, scholar, critic but to me he was my friend…a friendship that saw us both through our personal highs and lows and lasted through thick and thin.” She offered her homage by dancing an excerpt of one of his favourite items, “Krishna-shabdam.” Smt Gayathri Sriram, spoke about her experience since the first time she invited Dr Sunil Kothari for Samarpana Festival of Arts and their journey thereafter. She offered a dance homage through a soulful padam, another favourite of Dr Kothari. Mohanapriyan Thavarajah fondly remembered his association, blessings and personal relationship and offered a dance prayer through a lively “Ravanastotram”, another one of Dr Sunil Bhai’s favourite. Dr Gauri Krishnan shared her deep bond and involvement with her family as a friend and Mr Sopnendu Mohanty from Monetary Authority of Singapore mentioned that he will dedicate a chapter on resilience from his book to his never-give-up spirit. Aravinth Kumarasamy, Artistic Director of Apsaras Arts shared how he had benefited from Dr Sunil Kothari’s dedicated feedback and reviews until his last breath over the production AMARA in December 2020. In memory of Dr Sunil Kothari’s life time service to the dance fraternity, he announced a scholarship that will be granted to a young Singaporean writer who will be supported to write, review and critique dance productions to keep the spirit of his legacy alive. “I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word.” – gratitude to Dr Sunil Kothari for leaving behind these invaluable volumes of words, documenting dance and dancers of this era.

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