It's not every day that you see the entire film fraternity in the South coming together to create a big hit starring every actor in the industry. We may have seen an Om Shanti Om in Hindi or a Zero, where stars make a blink-and-miss appearance in song-dance numbers or a War that relied heavily on its two male protagonists to do most of the weight-lifting. But we are talking about films where every other character in the film is a credited 'big name' actor. In Tamil, there was Suyamvaram in 1999, which starred over 30 big actors, and in Malayalam, Twenty:20 in 2008. The Joshiy directorial had an ensemble cast of over 50 AMMA members. In simpler terms, in its 2-hour 45-minute runtime, not one face went unrecognised. Non-Malayalees, picture this: every A-lister from the Khans and the Bachchans to the Kapoors and the Dutts in one film. Here's a hypothetical look at what a new-age Tamil version of Twenty:20 will look like, if that's what it will take to bring back audiences to theatres after the pandemic.
Honestly, we would love to see Rajinikanth play most of the characters in this film, including the big villain, but wouldn't it also work if we see him reprise the role played by Madhu? Given that he's still the big boss, it would only be fair for him to play the big patriarch, like one would imagine Amithabh Bachchan in the Hindi version. Senior actors who command respect are the ideal fit and this narrows it down to our very own Thalaivar. It'd be a delight to see Rajinikanth give his spin to this role, undoubtedly taking Rtd. Justice Vishwanatha Menon to a whole new level.
Rayappan aka Thalapathy is 'enough said' but because we are all about reasoning, here goes. Vijay brought in nuance to Bigil's Rayappan and was sensitive, tough and determined, much like Devaraja Prathapa Varma. Remember being astounded when Mohanlal goes from wide-eyed murder suspect to a conniving businessman? Needless to say, nothing beats his signature mundu madakki slo-mo walk in his hair-raising introduction and we feel Vijay will be perfecto.
Being the veteran that he is when it comes to donning the lawyer's coat (think Adv. Nandagopal Marar), it was probably a cakewalk for Mammootty to effortlessly slip into Adv. Ramesh Nambiar's shoes. Ajith's Bharath Subramaniam in Nerkonda Paarvai gave the star a performance-oriented role as opposed to his mass entertainers. The taut script and screenplay are simply added bonuses when it comes to seeing Ajith and Vijay in a single frame. Whistles.
Just like how Suresh Gopi is synonymous with the IPS tag in Kerala, Suriya, with his Singam series, and earlier outings like Kaakha Kaakha, has carved a niche for himself in the cop genre. Be it a no-nonsense police officer like ACP Anbuselvan IPS or the angrier, more dramatic S. Durai Singam, it is a no-brainer that Suriya would bring a certain elan to Suresh Gopi's substantial role.
Jayaram played an exuberant medical college professor who is tasked with turning a bawdy Karthik Varma (Dileep) into a responsible doctor. The chemistry between these two characters brings in most of the light moments in Twenty:20. While Vijay Sethupathi makes gold of every character that comes his way, Karthi would be an ideal choice as the naughty younger brother of Vijay's character. We are already imagining Vijay, Karthi and Vijay Sethupathi together!
Bhavana's Ashwathy Nambiar was the glue that held the entire plot together. With Keerthy Suresh being on a roll since her debut, we didn't really have to brainstorm on this one!
In a film with every possible actor from the Malayalam film fraternity, Kavya Madhavan made an impact with her hilarious cameo of a theatre actor. Samantha has the screen presence required of this character, and we'd also not be surprised if fans flocked to theaters just to catch five minutes of Sam, irrespective of every other big name the movie will boast of.
You can take away comedy from Jagathy Sreekumar but never the other way around. If there is one name equivalent to this master actor in Tamil, it has to be Vadivelu. When the world prayed for Nesamani in 2019, every proud Malayalee went around enlightening others about the original, played by Jagathy in Friends. Why explain more when this league has just well…two names!
There literally isn't anything that Siddique can't do. Be it the role of a supportive father, tyrant uncle, cruel landlord or helpless husband, trust Siddique to make it all believable. Vikram is known for his successful experimental roles, and while we'd love to see him as Adv. Rameshan Nambiar too, we are inclined towards him bringing out the shades of grey in this one.
Actor Indrajith was cast as the filthy rich and spoilt Arun Kumar who brutally rapes and murders Ashwathy Nambiar. From the younger lot of those who've played the antagonist in Tamil cinema, it is hard to overlook what Arun Vijay did with his character of Victor in Yennai Arindhaal. And given that both these roles have a lot in common, we settle for him.
We can happily come up with names for every other actor's counterpart but there is literally no one who can pull off Nayanthara's moves in the song He Dil Deewana or should we say we wouldn't want anyone else grooving to this number?
What about the villains? Who would you like to see playing the role Siddique essayed, along with a set of cronies? Feel free to add in the comments section.