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Kapi Tillana

I have demonstrated the Kapi Tillana composed by MD is Ramanathan (often known as MDR) sung by Prince Rama Varma in Adi Talam Tisra Gati. The moment I heard him sing I could feel the steps marching in. This is an inspired choreography. A very simple Tillana that can be learnt by intermediate level students.

Thanks to  for meanings. The Sahityam is in Telugu and in praise of Goddess Adi Shakti. Raagam Kaapi, Rupaka Taalam (Tishra Gati).


dhIm dhIm dhIm dhImta dhIranA dhiranA dhiranA


nAdhrudhIm tomdhrudhIm tana dhiranA dhiranA dhiranA
nadrutAni tomdhrutAni dhru tillAna dhru dhru tillAna dhru dhru dhru tillAna


pAda yugamu nammiti patita pAvani purANi nI daya kOrina nannu nalinAkSi kApADumu

nA taramA nI mahimalu natajana pAlinI pogaDa Adi shakti nIvEgadA Adi varadadAsanuta

pA dha pa ma ga mA pa ma ga ri gA ma ga ri sa rI ni ri sa ni sA ni sa ga ga sa ga ma ma
ga pa pa ni pa ma ga ri sA ri sa ri ma pa ni ri ma pa ni sa ri dhitlAm kiTatOm
dhitlAm kiTatakatOm dhitlAm kiTataka tarikiTatOm

Meaning of the Sahityam:

Oh sanctifier/purifier (purANi) of the fallen (patita), Oh consort of Siva (purANi), I have placed my faith/believed in (nammiti) [the protection offered by] your feet (pAda yagamu) [1]. Please protect (kApADumu) me (nannu), who has desired/sought (kOrina) your (nI) compassion (daya), Oh lady with lotus (naLina)-like eyes (akshi)! Is it in my (nA) capabilities (taramA) to talk about/praise (pogaDa) your (nI) greatness (mahimalu), Oh protector (pAlini) of the people (jana) who bow down (nata) to you? Aren’t (kadA/gadA) you (nIvE) the all powerful (Adi Sakti), the one that this prime/principal (Adi) disciple/servant (dAsa) of varadAcAriar (varada) bows down to/prays to (nuta)?

[1] pAda ygamu – pAda = feet, yagamu = both/two

Watch the Videos for the instruction and demonstration.


I did not have the song with me at first. I had to use the youtube version. I am a big Rama Varma fan, so whatever he sings I thoroughly enjoy it. I mailed Varma sir saying that I used your song and that only if you permit I shall post it on my blog. To my surprise I got a very humble reply from ‘ The Prince’.

He said ” I am extremely happy to see that you picked this, out of the hundreds of videos by various people available on youtube. Please feel welcome to use it in whatever way you like. Many people I know, seem to have made some sort of arrangement by which they can take everything with them when they die… it knowledge, wealth or power. As I still haven’t figured out how to do this, I have absolutely no problem sharing whatever I know in whatever way I can 🙂

I am extremely thankful for his support and encouragement. For all those who need the song, follow the link below to buy it.



  1. Pooja Shah

    Hello Mam, I too want to learn Bharatanatyam. But I don’t know anything about it,. You can count me at ZERO level.But then too I m keen to learn this beautiful dance. Please mam I need your help. Please tell from where should I start with. Please Mam guide me and train me.

  2. hariharan

    pls see wikipaedia and the following link, and if necessary, pls contact prince ramavarma and natives of palakkad in kerala. M D Ramanathan is not “Pillai”. He is “palakkad Iyer” like, mani iyer, chembai etc. Thillana is a dance form, dance forms might have been (im not sure) mainly handled by people belonging to Pillai community. But MDR is tamil brahmin – iyer. One Mr. Ramachandran, native of Cherpu, Thrissur, and settled in mumbai, has produced a short film / documentary about MDR. You may refer thatl too.

    Before writing some thing (especially as a teacher / authority) which may become part of history or document, please ensure correctness



  3. Neharika saxena

    Dear mam,
    I want to perform something for lord jagannathji on rath yatra function please guide me ,i want to perform on the song ne nante nakku of movie oosravelli .
    also i want to complement the amazing work you are doing by sharing ure knowledge for free .I work parttime and earn to less to join a bharatnatyam class,i am trying to learn from your videos .
    lots of regards and best wishes .
    Neharika saxena

  4. Elena

    Dear Anjali! Thank you for your lessons! It is very diffical to find indian classic tutorial even in Moskow
    I would like to have the complete audio for dance performance, but the link is not available any more. (((
    Is there other way to get the music?

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