Dheepan follows a counterfeit family from Sri Lanka (above) to France (below)
The title character is an imposter; Dheepan isn't his real name. Sivadhasan (Jesusthasan Antonythasan) is a Tamil, one of the Hindu minority in Sri Lanka. He is also a Tamil Tiger, a soldier in the revolutionary/terrorist organization credited with inventing suicide bombing. Stuck in a refugee camp as the civil war winds down, he gets an opportunity to emigrate using the passports of a family -- husband, wife and daughter -- who were recently killed. He recruits a woman and girl who can vaguely pass for the people in the passport pictures, and soon enough the newly dubbed Dheepan and his new family are settled in a Paris housing project. It's not much of a family and not much of a life. The daughter, Illayal (Claudine Vinasithamby), is eager to learn French and make friends but is rebuffed by her new schoolmates and gets no emotional support from her aloof maternal unit, Yalini (Kaleaswari Srinivasan). Dheepan becomes a caretaker for the project, his comings and goings strictly regulated by the gangs who run the place, while Yalini becomes a home aide for the invalid father of one of the gangbangers.