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Arangetram: Sruthi Takillapati

Ramya Srinivasan

We were basking in the best time of the year, the Music and Dance Arangetram Season! One such joyous occasion was the Bharatnatyam Arangetram of Sruthi Takillapati, student of Smt Sapna Krishnan, which took place on July 14th, 2018 at the Grafton High School. The function was well attended and folks were looking forward to a yet another spectacular performance from the Lasya School of Dance. The entrance to the event was well decorated with Rangoli, flowers, lamps and pictures of Sruthi with her Guru.The guest book caught the attention of all and valuable wishes were penned.
The event started ceremoniously by worshipping and chanting the praise of Lord Nataraja and other deity idols which were beautifully arranged on the right side of the stage. After which, Sruthi took the blessings from her Guru Smt. Sapna Krishnan and the members of the ensemble before starting her performance.
The Arangetram was hosted very candidly by Dr. Saritha Venkatesh who kept the audience rapt. She narrated amusing anecdotes and connected with the audience very naturally.

The beautiful invocation song by Sruthi's grandmother touched the hearts of the audience. She invoked the event with Vathaapi Ganapathim in ragam Hamsadhwani which was a fitting song to kick start the grand event! Sri Sudev Warrier being the vocalist of the evening sung the praise of Lord Ganesha with Ajaganana Padmarkam while each member of the ensemble also performed to introduce themselves.
The program started with a Pushpanjali in ragam Arabhi set to talam Adi. Sruthi gracefully welcomed everyone in the audience and sought the blessings of her Guru and other members of the  ensemble. The vocalist Sri Sudev Warrier was accompanied by  Sri Sudaman Subramaniam on the Mridangam, Sri C K Patanjali on the flute and Sri Saketha Pantula on the Violin and Guru Sapna Krishnan kept the beat with Nattuvangam. Sruthi kept the energetic movements in  Jathiswaram in ragam Kalyani. The next power packed performance which stole the attention of the spectators was the Kali Kauthuvam. Sruthi delivered a mind blowing performance depicting the fierce Kaali with her captivating postures dancing to Mahishasura Mardhini.

The Varnam was the main piece to the event set to Raagamalika and the most elaborate item. This was a Meera Bhajan adopted into the varnam by the talented Sudev Warrier, portraying stories of Lord Vishnu.
Before this dance, Sruthi came  up on stage and expressed the story/gist of the song with graceful moves. Narration by Nilanjana was well received. This was truly a compelling dance piece! In the first story Sruthi depicted the pain of Draupadi in a scene from Mahabharatha. The second story was on Bhaktha Prahalada while the third one was Gajendra Moksham. Sruthi gave us a ravishing performance with her perfectly coordinated steps and colorful costume. The expressions of the Elephant King bathing in the water from the lake was stupendously expressed by Sruthi. That was a true sight to behold! The varnam received a loud cheer and applause from the audience. During the interlude, we had a fabulous Jugalbandhi from the musicians. Sudev ji touched the audience by singing Nagumomu in ragam Aabheri. Sudaman ji played the mridangam so well and connected with the audience involving them in his performance. We took great pride and was enjoyable to join him during the interlude! The live orchestra was a blessing as they gave such a lively performance and we as audience were blessed to have this opportunity to hear and see them perform!
Right after the intermission was the Keerthanam in ragam Palini.  Kapaalini was performed depicting Lord Shiva carrying the kapalam (skull). This was a powerful and fierce performance showcasing the Tandava element of Shiva's dance. Sruthi once again dazzled us with her costume coordination and heartwarming movements.This was followed by a Keerthanam on Lord Hanuman set to ragam Vasantha.  Sruthi emoted the powerful monkey god who flew over the sea and burnt Lanka during his search for Sita. Following was yet another vibrant composition of Annamacharya - Brahmamokate! This rhythmic song set to ragam Bowli was choreographed magnificently giving a touch of folk moves.

The Thillana in ragam Bahar was the first of the few we have witnessed in this rare ragam.  Sruthi delivered a marvelous performance dancing to this Thillana being the grand finale.

Such a unique Mangalam piece was dedicated to the pancha bhootas. Sruthi gracefully paid her homage to the five elements and the audience to conclude the Arangetram. In her speech Sruthi called upon all the musicians and her guru to thank and acknowledge their efforts and contribution with a memento. Overall this Arangetram was an awe-inspiring event and hearty congratulations to Sruthi, her family and the dance school.
Big shout out to Sruthi's cousin , Saketha who did a tremendous job on the violin. He augmented the rest of the musicians with such ease! Presentation on Manavseva was very touching. It is commendable that Sruthi donated all her gifts/money from the Arangetram to this noble cause. We witnessed several people stop by and donate to the Manavseva organization. The tasty dinner served at the event was worth a mention. All the attendees were served delicious mouth watering snacks and dinner at the end of the program.
Summarizing Sruthi's Arangetram was a beautiful amalgamation of great choreography by Guru Sapna Krishnan, bright well-coordinated costumes and  invigorating movements leading to a fabulous performance! Kudos to Sruthi, her Guru, the musicians and everyone else behind the scenes who contributed to this tremendous accomplishment !!
MC: Dr.Saritha Venkatesh
Audio: Roger
Video: Manoj Panicker
Photography : Krish Velmurugan
Make up : Anu Metra
 Brochure : Saketha Pantula
Special thanks to Nilanjana Nambiar

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