Santhosh Narayanan calls out Maajja CEO for crude remarks on Enjoy Enjaami artists

Santhosh Narayanan was criticising a post shared by Maajja CEO, Noel Kirthiraj, which accused artists of wanting to reap monetary benefits without fulfulling their obligations.
Music composer Santhosh Narayanan
Music composer Santhosh Narayanan
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Music composer Santhosh Narayanan issued a statement criticising an insensitive post shared by Noel Kirithiraj, the CEO of Maajja, a record label that produced the popular song ‘Enjoy Enjaami’. Santhosh Narayanan recently issued a video statement where he did not name Maaja but alleged that they had not paid the artists who were involved in the making of ‘Enjoy Enjaami’, including his step-daughter Dhee and rapper Arivu. On March 7, Noel took to his Instagram stories to explain what entails for the artist and the label when they sign a “360 agreement.” At the end of the explanation, he shared a post, without naming the song or artists but comparing them to people who want a sugar daddy without fulfilling “their obligations.” 

Noel’s Instagram story featured a meme that said ‘You’re telling me that you want a sugar daddy without giving him the sugar?’. Along with the meme, Noel wrote on his story, “Unless you are prepared to fulfil your obligations, you may be confusing a legal agreement with a sugar daddy. But even with a sugar daddy, you have to give him the sugar. So I am not sure of your logic…”

Sharing a screenshot of Noel’s post on Instagram, Santhosh said that he needed to be called out for all the “tasteless comments and bullying.” Further criticising Noel for his inappropriate comparison, Santhosh said, “Shame on you Noel for sexually shaming all the incredible artists that worked with you. You need to be called out for all the tasteless comments and bullying. It is now your time to repay all of these innocent artists. Let the whole world see what you have done to the indie music community.” 

Asking Noel to “lawyer up”, the music composer said, “You have absolutely no rights to have any of my music in any of your channels. Lawyer up. Here we come.” 

On the third anniversary of the song ‘Enjoy Enjaami’, Santhosh Narayanan revealed that the record label paid nothing to the artists involved in the making of the song. He also added that because of this experience, he is opening his own studio which would help indie artists publish their work in a more smooth and transparent manner.

Shortly after Santhosh came out with his allegations, AR Rahman, who was associated with Maaja, distanced himself. He said that he was not a beneficiary or a shareholder of Maajja and only did this out of goodwill. The Oscar winning musician further added that he only mentored YAALL, the global music festival put together by Maajja. Following the clarification, Santosh extended his solidarity to AR Rahman for being another “victim” of Maajja.  

‘Enjoy Enjaami’ was in the news earlier for a controversy about its credits and alleged appropriation. Santhosh Narayanan was credited for composing the song during the 44th Chess Olympiad held in Chennai in 2022. During the event, the song was performed by Dhee and Kidakuzhi Mariyammal, and Arivu took to social media to say that he had written, composed, and performed the song. 

Read: Tiffany ad to Enjoy Enjaami — a look at art, appropriation & the voice of authenticity

Shortly after Arivu’s statement, Dhee, who is also Santhosh’s step-daughter, took to social media and said that the song was a collaborative effort and that she had always credited the rapper. Santhosh further underlined this by saying that in 2020, Dhee had an idea for a song that he composed, recorded, and co-sang, which was later released in 2021 as ‘Enjoy Enjaami’. 

The erasure of Arivu from the cover of Rolling Stone India also created a huge controversy in 2021. The magazine interviewed singers Dhee and Shan Vincent de Paul who were part of Maajja’s music album and featured them on their cover but Arivu, who is a Dalit artist, was sidelined. This also led to a fallout between director Pa Ranjith and Santosh.

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