My First "Custom VCD" from Melnaatu Marumagal

Monday, October 11, 2010
I'm happy to report that I finally got brave enough and purchased a "custom VCD" from (Update: This site and business closed in 2011)-- and it's been a success! Yay!

AnyTamil has a great selection of old and obscure South Indian films, but quite a few of them are only available in "Custom VCDs."  When I first saw this option, I was perplexed.  There was no image of the VCD available and the whole thing looked sorta shady. I figured they probably just transferred an old VHS tape onto a VCD with home recording equipment and wrote the title with a sharpie or something.  I felt nominally better when I read this (typo-laden) piece from their FAQ section:  "Q 15. What is Custom VCD? All VCd's are not commercially released. We can Custom Make Commercially unavailable VCd's by Trnsferring from VHs Casette by Original Copy Right Holders.These VCd's would play only on PC/ VCD Players/DVD Players which Read CD R. Customers are asked to verify this from their DVd Player Catalogue"

So I decided to be brave and ordered a custom VCD of Melnaatu Marumagal (Tamil, 1975). I've been dying to see the 1976 Telugu remake version America Ammayi which starred Devayani, a French woman who in real life came to India to learn Bharatnatyam and became an accomplished PadmaSree award-winning dancer.  Alas, AnyTamil didn't have America Ammayi but much to my joy had the original, Melnaatu Marumagal!  

So I placed my order and got the same standard order "confirmation" that I always get.  Looking back at the timeline, the DVD shipped from Chennai, India, 3 days later and arrived to my apartment in the US in two weeks!  (Don't get too excited though- I'm still waiting on the remaining 3/4 of the order). 

The VCDs came tucked inside one of those endearing cheapo vinyl CD envelope thingies, and the AnyTamil wizards actually put a label on it with the film title printed! 

Funnily enough, however, the "custom VCD" looked exactly like a "normal" VCD I had ordered of the Prabhu Deva-starrer Mr. Romeo.  I think I know what's going on here...

Anywho, when I put the custom VCD in my DVD player it actually played!  So how was the quality?  Actually decent!  The resolution is about your average small YouTube video size, but I could stretch it out and still not have it pixelate to at least twice it's size.  See for yourself!

OMG! Bharatanatyam! 
OMG! Kamal Hassan!

OMG! Requisite white chick bikini scene!

OMG! White chick Indianified scene!

I see a review coming in the near future... :)


  1. watch for two songs in this film. one: the usha utup song that goes "sha sha sha daba daba daba daba daba daba da ping" topped by " sha rabda daba daba daba daba dapaing"

    and the other that goes " I will sing for you wo wo wo wooo I will dance for you" with a stupita gamaka at " i wi-ll da-hence" etc.

    also made immortal by kamalahasan's classic dialog" hi mom hi dad, bye mom bye dad"


    this song

  3. Funny, I was recently considering making a purchase from "custom VCD" section, sent them an email, and never got a response.
    I guess I will have to fork over money before they give me even the slightest bit of thought...

  4. Ramesh - I thought the song that Kamal screencap came from looked quite terrible while browsing through, but with those lyrics I will HAVE to watch the songs all the way through, haha! :D

    Prasanth - What a coincidence, huh! That's too bad about the lack of a response. The last two times I emailed them asking if certain DVDs were in stock, I got an answer in 24 hours, much to my surprise. Yet another time when I emailed them asking why certain DVDs hadn't been received, I never heard back. Ever. And yet I keep ordering from them! Glutton for punishment, I guess.


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