‘Enjoy Enjaami’: War of words between Arivu, Santhosh & Dhee

The exclusion of Arivu’s name had now created a controversial row on social media.
Santhosh Naryanan, Dhee and Arivu
Santhosh Naryanan, Dhee and Arivu

CHENNAI: The controversial claim over the song 'Enjoy Enjaami' has sparked yet again on Monday as rapper Arivu took to social media to clarify that it was he who wrote, composed and performed the song and was not properly given credits during the performance by singers Dhee and Kidakuzhi Mariyammal at the opening ceremony of the 44th Chess Olympiad. Instead, Santosh Narayanan was credited for the song.

The exclusion of Arivu’s name had now created a controversial row on social media.

In a long Instagram post with a picture from the music video of the song, Arivu wrote, “Composed, Written, sung & Performed Enjoy Enjaami. Nobody gave me a Tune, Melody or a Single word to write this one. Spent almost 6 months of sleepless and stressful nights and days for everything it is right now. No doubt it’s a great team work. No doubt it calls everyone together . But it doesn’t mean that’s not the history of Valliammal or the landless Tea plantation slave ancestors of mine . Every song of mine will be having the scarmark of this generational oppression. Like this Just One..( sic).”

“Anyone can snatch away your treasure when You’re alseep. Never when you are awake. Jaibhim. Truth will always win in the end.#enjoyenjaami #appropriationart,” he added.

Santosh Narayanan also released a note explaining the process of the song, “The entire process of the ideation, composition, arrangement and recording the shoot version with all the lyrics of ‘Enjoy Enjaami’ was done in under 30 hours. As we had only a few hours to record ‘Enjoy Enjaami’ before the shoot, our process was swift, fun and spontaneous.”

“In December 2020, Dhee came up with the idea of creating a Tamil song which glorified our roots and celebrated nature. I then composed, arranged, programmed, recorded and co-sang ‘Enjoy Enjaami’,” he said.

He also added that “the entire process of the ideation, composition, arrangement and recording the shoot version with all the lyrics of ‘Enjoy Enjaami’ was done in under 30 hours. As we had only a few hours to record ‘Enjoy Enjaami’ before the shoot, our process was swift, fun and spontaneous.”

Minutes after Santhosh Narayanan posted the letter, Singer Dhee also took to social media and expressed her view about the song in a letter.

It read, "Enjoy Enjaami was created with the purest intention of bringing us closer to each other and the life around us. To acknowledge, celebrate and protect. The song's core is about an ancient Tamil society that lived one with nature and worshipped (the five elements) and lived free of the adversities that came with manmade divisions (caste, religion, etc). They are our roots. This song is a reminder and a call to that time. That this earth belongs to all life, not just humans, and our collective responsibility in protecting and preserving the earth and all life forms. I remain hopeful that this song will lead us on a search for our roots and embrace them. That we remember, through love, hardships, grief, wounds, fear, and ego that we are the sweet fruits of an ancient seed. That we come from the same source." (sic)

"I have full control over what I say, do, and the things I share on my social media and I have always made sure I give credits to Arivu as the writer/singer and Santhosh Narayanan as the producer/composer at every point. I have proudly spoken about them, specifically Arivu, every chance I got. At no point have I diminished or downplayed both of their importance in Enjoy Enjaami. I've only ever wanted to celebrate, and highlight their work and I've been doing that at every step and stage. I don't have any control over the way our work is being shared and promoted by external sources. Director Manikandan has contributed immensely to the making of this song and his movie Kadaisi Vivasayi is the driving force behind Enjoy Enjaami, I have always acknowledged this at every step. Enjoy enjaami's lyrical structure, and the premise was heavily discussed and curated within the team and we were all on the same page till the song was released. Valliammal paati's presence in the video was an homage to signify that we are a mú a. Most of the current meanings and narrative behind our song, I came to only learn after each one of Arivu's interviews dropped post-release. I only wanted Arivu's voice to be heard the loudest. As I believe what he has to say is important and it deserves front and centre. All revenues and ownership of our song are shared equally amongst the three of us. I've only ever wanted to experience every milestone surrounding enjoy enjaami with Arivu and Santhosh Narayanan and if or when an opportunity feels ill-intended, unjust, or condones any form of inequality, I will not be a part of it,” she wrote.

She also talked about the Rolling Stone cover which first sparked the controversy and said, "The Rolling stone India cover from last year was based around Shan and I's upcoming individual albums and the main reason as to why we're in this particular cover together. It was neither about Enjoy Enjaami or Neeye oli. The song names weren't mentioned on the cover too that we shared. That particular cover story was about our upcoming albums and Maajja as a platform. What I was told was that there was a rollout plan where Rollingstone was going to publish cover stories and articles on Arivu, Santhosh Narayanan, and all maajja artists. This was also announced as a tweet by Rollingstone before our cover was published and I was happy to see that it was." (sic)

"Arivu is credited in the Enjoy Enjaami DJ snake remix on official platforms like Spotify. Santhosh Narayanan, Arivu, and I don't have control over the marketing behind it. About the Olympiad chess performance, the event organisers approached Arivu and me to perform for the event but as he was not available and in the US, we played his voice track for the performance. He was spoken about at the event for his words and his performance of Enjoy enjaami. Though this whole thing has been interpreted in many different ways, I am consoled by the importance of what this conversation means in an ongoing battle, and what role it plays in the process of revolution. I'm ready and I have always been ready to sit down and have a conversation about this with all parties involved either publicly or privately, with or without media with an unbiased mediator. I feel the utmost gratitude to you guys as well as Santhosh Narayanan, Arivu, Maajja, and the whole team for making the song what it is. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the love and support. My only wish is for the song's very purpose which was to bring people together to always remain that way. Enjoy Enjaami was born out of our love and respect for this earth, life, the roots, people, and each other as co-artists and friends. To me, it will always remain that way,” she concluded.

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