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About 8 years ago, on October 6, 2006, Warner Bros Studios released one of the greatest movies in crime drama: “The Departed”. A remake of the Hong Kong movie ‘Infernal Affairs’ and directed by the critically distinguished director Martin Scorsese and written by William Monaghan, this mob movie boasted of a brilliant and talented star cast, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin and Vera Farmiga.


The film takes place in Boston. Irish Mob boss Francis "Frank" Costello (Nicholson) plants Colin Sullivan (Damon) as a mole within the Massachusetts State Police. Simultaneously, the Chief of Police Queenan (Sheen) and his No.2 Dignam (Wahlberg) assign undercover cop William "Billy" Costigan (DiCaprio) to infiltrate Costello's crew. When both sides realize the situation, each mole attempts to discover the other's true identity before his own cover is blown. The drama unfolds in a thrilling narration with an unexpected twist.


The movie was critically acclaimed and earned its director Scorsese the Academy Award that had been eluding him for the better part of 30 years. It earned several other accolades from the British Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), Screenwriters Guild Awards and many others. After recently watching the film, I discussed with friends on which of our Tamil heroes would fit each character’s role. The below analysis is purely my opinion and is not meant to hurt anyone’s sentiments or preferences.


1.      FRANK COSTELLO (Jack Nicholson) – RAJNIKANTH:


Nicholson played a Mob boss with style and brought the right amount of charm and villainy to the role. Costello was at times manic and at times cunning, but always brought off the image of a dangerous man that should not be messed with. Who better to portray such a villainous and aged character than our very own Superstar? Rajni’s roles in movies like Endhiran and Baasha are sufficient proof that he can pull off such a role with ease. This could also be the role that finally allows Rajni to play his age or much closer to it.


2.      CHARLES QUEENAN (Martin Sheen) – KAMAL HAASAN:


Police captain Queenan was a sort of father figure to Billy, as he was very understanding of the risks that Billy was undertaking. Even protecting his identity from the other members of the Department, Queenan’s discretion was the reason Billy was able to operate without arousing Costello’s suspicions or Sullivan’s scrutiny. Queenan was a dignified senior role, a cakewalk for a veteran like Kamal Haasan. If one were to picture his ‘Unnaipol Oruvan’ image with a salt and pepper look, he would be perfect as Queenan.


3.      BILLY COSTIGAN (Leonardo DiCaprio) – VIJAY:


The main lead of the movie, Billy Costigan gives off the impression of a man pushed into a corner, constantly looking over his shoulder to ensure that his cover was not blown. Leo was charming as a good guy who was succumbing to the pressure of being a mole. Ilayathalapathy Vijay, with his eternal young looks and slim frame, would be a natural fit for such a role. The twist that occurs in the end to Costigan’s character is something that may be tough to digest for his fans, but would be a big career move for him. He could bring a chemistry level with Kamal that is similar to the one he shared with Mohan Lal in Jilla.


4.      COLIN SULLIVAN (Matt Damon) – SURIYA:


Collin Sullivan was a character that gave off the impression of a teetotaller to the other characters in the story. However, to the audiences, he was a rat. He was the reason the police repeatedly failed and was a traitor to the utmost sense. However, he was loyal to Costello almost to the very end. Damon did a splendid job and was a big departure for him from playing the chocolate faced good guy action hero roles. Suriya looks the perfect build for Damon’s character, and can portray the right amount of angst. This would also mark a career defining moment for him, and woul dgive him a chance to shine with the Superstar in some key scenes.


5.      SEAN DIGNAM (Mark Wahlberg) – VIKRAM:


Dignam was badass. About the most badass character in the plot, Dignam was a man with profane and quick witted retorts. He was also skilled with a gun, and was the only one of the major characters who survives in the end. He is also the one who takes his revenge for Costigan by executing Sullivan in a powerful scene in the end. Wahlberg gives an Oscar nominated performance that was loved by fans. His quips with the other cops and banter with Baldwin’s character was cheered. Vikram is an actor par excellence and can shape his body in accordance with the needs of a script. Only his Anniyan character has ever played a role which spills profanity with such magnitude, but this role would be at the opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of mental calibration.


6.      GEORGE ELLERBY (Alec Baldwin) – PRAKASH RAJ:


Ellerby was a short tempered police captain that was hilarious to watch, but not the sort of person you would want to piss off in real life. Baldwin played the role to perfection, executing Ellerby’s quick mood swings brilliantly. His highlight moment was when he coolly asks the techie who messed up the cameras in the location of a sting operation to talk to him and then clocks him in a sudden surge of rage, spewing profanity. Prakash Raj has played the stereotype villain and audiences love to watch him in his short tempered comedic acts. He is tailor made for this role.




Dr Madolyn Madden was a psychiatrist, who enters into a relationship with Sullivan. However, Billy is obligated to have psychiatry sessions with her under his probation. This leads both of them to be attracted to each other and a relationship starts there as well. Madden slowly suspects Sullivan’s true motives and feels conflicted between the two men. While her role was not a big part of the plot, she showcased a side of both men that brought out their emotional side and allowed audiences to sympathise with them. Any of the three beautiful ladies mentioned above can pull off this rol ewith ease, given their seniority. However, even actresses Tamannaah, Andreah, Pooja Kumar and Ileana can play this role convincingly.


There are few other roles that play a small part in the plot, that can be played by other artistes in the industry. In addition, it is important that the film have little to no songs, as they can ruin the pace of the movie. The original story takes place in Boston, with the Irish mafia as the backdrop. In Tamil, the location could range from Chennai to Madurai to any of the urban areas, so often used in Kollywood. And finally, the most important part of the movie:


8.      THE DIRECTOR (Martin Scorsese):


A movie with a star power of such magnitude needs a capable, experienced and talented director. While Mani Ratnam may be the automatic choice for many people, other directors who can probably pull this off are: Shankar, Gautham Menon, A.L Vijay and A.R.Murugadoss. Suseenthiran and Prabhu Solomon are also talented enough to handle such a project; however, their capabilities to handle the star cast are doubtful.


I hope someone in the Tamil industry takes heed of this article. If not, at least it makes for interesting speculation.





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