By Dr Sunil Kothari
Bharata Natyam, the most popular classical Indian dance-form, has received universal approbation as one of the subtlest expressions of Indian culture. Its intimate connection with the temple, as a ritualistic art, mirroring the imperceptible feelings of a devotee reflects the inwardness of Hindu culture. “Its amazing inner resilience has once again come to the fore. And thanks to some of the great gurus and performing artistes, a few dedicated visionaries, and pioneers, it has, after its initial revival some six decades ago, gained unprecedented popularity. “One of the most beautiful, subtle, sophisticated, and graceful dance-forms in the world, Bharata Natyam is performed according to the most delicate nuances of a musical piece, or a poem, through the vehicle of a body. Reflecting the principles laid down in the Natyashastra treatises, it has survived in India in all its variegated splendour of the form and moods which it has gathered unto itself throughout the centuries.
Contents of the Book
1. In praise of Bharata Natyam/Mulk Raj Anand.
2. Spiritual background/Rukmini Devi.
3. History roots, growth, and revival.
5. Dance Notation of Adavus/Padma Subrahmanyam. Nritya:
8. Margam repertoire: Alarippu to Tillana. Natya:
9. Bhagavata mela Nataka.
10. Kuravanji dance-drama.
11. Musical content/P. Sambamurthy.
12. Mysore school of Bharata Natyam.
Dr Sunil Kothari
20th December 1933 – 27th December 2020
Dr. Sunil Kothari is a leading dance historian, scholar, author and critic, with 18 definitive works on dance to his credit. Dr. Kothari was Prof. and Dean, School of Arts and Aesthetics, JNU, New Delhi and Prof. and Head Dance Dept., Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata, Fulbright Professor New York University, USA. He was dance critic of The Times of India group of publications for 40 years. He is roving critic of Sruti monthly and has his own column in dance portal narthaki.com.
He also writes for The Hindu and Asian Age. He was based in New Delhi. Born in Mumbai on 20 December 1933, Dr. Kothari was a qualified chartered accountant before turning his focus to dance scholarship. His contribution as a dance writer and critic remains well documented in more than 20 books on the subject of Indian dance forms Bharatanatyam, Odissi, Chhau, Kathak, Kuchipudi, Satria and photo biographies of Uday Shankar and Rukmini Devi Arundale.
Dr. Kothari received numerous titles and awards for his contribution to Indian dance forms, including the Sangeet Natak Akademi award (1995); the Gaurav Puraskar award conferred by the Gujarat Sangeet Natak Akademi (2000); the Padma Shri award bestowed by the Government of India (2001), and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Dance Critics Association, New York, USA (2011). He was also an elected Fellow of Sangeet Natak Akademi for his contribution to Indian dance as a scholar. Dr Sunil Kothari, who was the first one to complete a PhD on Indian Dance was awarded the coveted Akademi Ratna by the Sangeet Natak Academy of India in 2018.
Padmashri Dr Sunil Kothari has been visiting Singapore regularly since the 1980’s. In the recent decade, he was a regular speaker at the annual seasons of Dance India Asia Pacific and Samarpana Festival in Singapore. He has also been a friend of Esplanade Theatres on the Bay and Singapore International Arts Festival. He had been regularly writing reviews of performances in Singapore in leading publications.