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Review Roundup : Mulla


In Malayalam, making bad movies is become an epidemic and Lal Jose just proved that he was not immune from this. As per the reviewers script lacked depth and direction was lacklustre.

Indiaglitz reviews:

The eleventh film from ace director Lal Jose – ‘Mulla ‘ cannot perhaps be called a bad film. But neither can it be called a brilliant movie. After such critically appreciated movies like ‘Arabikkatha’ and ‘Classmates’, one did expect a lot more from the director who gave us path breaking hits, even with lesser stars. An average film that may not make much of an impact at the box office, that’s what ‘Mulla’, is. Though a colorful film that is entertaining at times, ‘Mulla’ falters on many counts, being too far from an engrossing stuff and is perhaps indicative that Lal Jose and Sindhu Raj failed miserably this time, trying to give a long elusive hit to Dileep. says

Mulla is a film that stumbles early and never really picks up. It’s dazed and confused and falls flat in its efforts to be the least absorbing. Sindhuraj’s script has not much of a story to occupy the running time and by the end there is neither a conflict nor an agreeable dénouement. The set-ups are simply too outrageous and backbreaking to sit through. The plotting is clumsy and never rises above a self-imposed blandness. The characters are never really clearly defined nor is there a reason for us to care about them.

Dileep as Mulla, does nothing less of a fair job and nothing more. The solid hair-cut is all striking, but he is shaken up by a flood of pointless events and seems all bewildered. He finds himself in an unenviable position when he has to use nearly every acting trick in his armory to distract us from a plot that’s as fragile and frail as a house of cards. Debutante Meera Nandan, looks pretty as a portrait, despite being oddly made-up and ridiculously clad. She appears at times slightly jumpy, and at others distinctly uncomfortable. Biju Menon makes a reappearance in an outlandish wig and Bhavana resurfaces in one of the worst cameos ever.

Rediff’s take:

But the screenplay by Sindhuraj is not that simple. In the beginning it seems somewhat interesting as the story is revealed through flashbacks (maybe a hangover of Classmates to complicate the narrative). But, it does not hold our attention for long as we can guess things taking shape and in what direction they are moving.

Let me say the interesting thing first, which is Dileep’s character as almost dumb and brooding angry young man. He is robbed of the vital ingredient of histrionic armoury that is, to provide comic relief with his antics. The son of a prostitute nicknamed Mulla, (named after jasmine flowers she wears in her hair), he later gets her name after she commits suicide. He is then brought up in a slum that breeds criminals.

Meera Nandan tries her best to be charming as the best of Malayalam cinema did before her. But she will need to spruce up a little before she gets noticed by Tamil filmmakers (which are what all Malayalam actresses aim at these days). Still she is good enough to fit the bill here.

Image courtesy:


  1. good movie. priya nandan has made a good debut. the appaearnce of bhavana was unwanted. After “rasikan” and “pattalam” flops lal jose has understood the importance of story. the story of mulla is not free from flaws. there are some classic shots also. especially the shot between two passing trains. camera deserves an applause on that shot. terrific shot. but the song scene the roman one really sucked.

  2. Mulla is a very good movie……..

    i enjoyed every frame of Mulla

  3. iam also excited and love to see this movie.

  4. At last Lal Jose also become a copy cat. His latest film is purely lift from the Portugal movie called Tsotsi released in 2005. The film also an Oscar award for best foreign language film in 2005. I have scene the film earlier. Mulla is a cheap make of the original Movie. Most of the scenes are ditto from the original film. Only the difference is getting the baby from the train and the love angle with the girl. In Tsotsi the title character get the baby from the car. The original story goes like this-
    In a shantytown on the edges of Johannesburg, South Africa, nineteen year old Tsotsi (Presley Chweneyagae) has repressed any memory of his past, including his real name: “Tsotsi” simply means “thug” or “gangster” in the street language of the ghetto.
    Orphaned at an early age and compelled to claw his way to adulthood alone, Tsotsi has lived a life of extreme social and psychological deprivation. A feral being with scant regard for the feelings of others, he has hardened himself against any feelings of compassion. Ruled only by impulse and instinct, he is fuelled by the fear he instills in others. With no name, no past and no plan for the future, he exists only in an angry present. Tsotsi heads up his own posse of social misfits, Boston, a failed teacher (Mothusi Magano), Butcher, a cold-blooded assassin (Zenzo Ngqobe) and Aap, a dim-witted heavy (Kenneth Nkosi.)
    One night, during an alcohol-fueled evening at a local shebeen (illicit liquor bar) Tsotsi is put under pressure by a drunken Boston to reveal something of his past; or at the very least, his real name. But Tsotsi reveals nothing. The questions evoke painful, long repressed memories that Tsotsi would prefer to keep buried. Still, Boston keeps asking. The other gang members sense a rising anger in Tsotsi and try to stop the interrogation, but Boston keeps pushing, prodding, digging. Suddenly, Tsotsi lashes out with his fists and beats Boston’s face to a pulp. The violence is brief but extreme.
    Tsotsi turns and flees into the night. He runs wildly, desperate to escape the pain of unwelcome images rising in his mind. By the time he stops running he has crossed from the shantytown into the more affluent suburbs of the city. He collapses under a tree. It is raining hard. A woman in a driveway is struggling to open her motorised gate with a faulty electronic remote. Tsotsi draws his gun. It’s an easy opportunity for an impromptu car jacking. As he races away in the woman’s silver BMW, he hears the cry of a child. There’s a 3 month old baby in the back of the car. Tsotsi loses control of the vehicle and crashes to a stop on the verge of a deserted road. The car is a write-off.
    Tsotsi staggers from the vehicle. The baby is screaming. Tsotsi walks away. Then he turns back. The baby calms slightly when Tsotsi looks at it. This unsettles him. He hesitates. An unfamiliar feeling stirs within him: an impulse other than his pure instinct for personal survival. Suddenly, he gathers up the infant, shoves it into a large shopping bag and heads for the shantytown on foot. Tsotsi does not reveal to anyone that he has the child. He hides it from his gang. At first he thinks he can care for it alone. Keep it in his shack. Feed it on condensed milk. But he soon realizes that he cannot cope. The baby screams constantly and his attempts to feed it fail miserably.
    At the community water tap, Tsotsi selects a young woman with a baby of her own and secretly follows her back to her home. Forcing his way in behind her, he makes the terrified woman breastfeed “his” baby at gunpoint.
    The young mother, Miriam (Terry Pheto), is only a few years older than Tsotsi. She has recently lost her husband to violent crime and lives alone with her baby, making ends meet as a seamstress. At first Miriam is very frightened by Tsotsi. But gradually she takes on the role of both mother to the baby and mentor to the desensitized young gangster. As their relationship tentatively progresses, Tsotsi is compelled to confront his own violent nature and to reveal his past.
    Now you decide Lal jose is a Copycat or Creater

    See the Link

  5. mallu – that looks very very similar to mulla. great job. so lal jose is Priyadarshan Mark II?

  6. Just because lal jose copied one movie does not mean he is a copy cat.good directors like night shyamalan (the village)and peter jackson (king kong) make movies inpired from other movies. Lal jose made many good movies like classmates and arbikatha. He should not be called a copy cat for making mulla! hope he corrects his mistake next time!

  7. As far as I know, Lal Jose did not write this movie – Sindhuraj did. So plaigarism comments should be directed at him.

  8. Jibs – so going by your theory, kilukkam was directed by Priyan and and was written by Venu Nagavally. Thenmavin Kombathu was again directed by Priyan and again written by Sreenivasan. So does that absolve Priyan of plagiarism?

    I strongly belive that Lal Jose would have equal hand as much as Sindhuraj in copying this and remeber this movie has won an Oscar too.

  9. Krishnan,

    You said, “I strongly belive that Lal Jose…”

    It is a “belief”. I can say “I strongly believe Lal Jose had no hand in this”. So whose belief wins?

  10. Jibs – I just used the word “belief”. I am no cronie of Lal Jose to say authoritatively that he copied. But going by mallu’s description of the Tsotsi story, there is a very good reason to believe that Lal Jose may have been strongly “inspired” by the foreign movie – the same thing which people accuse Priyan of – copying.

    Lal Jose is one of the best we have currently – in terms of his diversity of themes in his movie and the portrayal of his characters – in Classmates/ Arabikatha/ Achanurangatha veedu. Kudos to him for that. Having said that , even he is no saint when it comes to originality. Somebody in this forum had earlier mentioened that his Maravathur Kanavu was also inspired.

    I rest my case

  11. lal jose’s debut movie oru maravathoor kanavu itself is a lift from the french movie ‘jean de florette’ penned by the glorified sreenivasan. His 9th movie ‘classmates’ is being tried in court on account of plagiarism not from a movie but from a published work. This guy is no saint. No second thoughts on that.

  12. This film has done good to meera nandan and biju menon. Dileep looks like a zombie. He tries to do what vikram did in ‘pithamahan’ by making faces at the mirror. Dileep lost his hair for nothing. What a waste!

  13. Anil

    I agree with u totally. One has to see Jean de Florette to believe what ‘inspiration’ truly means!


  14. Thanks for insights into plagiarism.

    Speaking of Sreenivasan films,
    “Udayanaanu Thaaran” has striking similarities to “Bowfinger”, especially the last scene.

    So much for a movie that has “story theft” at its root. Don’t know who the culprit here is.

  15. Now he is working on a theme with the classmates writer which is based on a place which has scarce rainfall. Because of famine people migrate to other places. The plot looks like a foreign class movie. Someone come up with the film name, please…………….

  16. At last Lal Jose also become a copy cat.

    [This comment has been posted once. No need to repeat it. – Ed]

  17. any more ordinanry viewer reviews? i dont beleieve the website reveiwers review any more. These reviwers said chotta mumbai is great comedy..

    That movie was disgusting!!

  18. hey dude, choota mumbai was a good movie. U should watch the movie with friends rather than family.

  19. @Kuttappana

    I hope you realise that reviewers arent expected to write the way you want them to write and to express your opinion. They are people with an opinion of their own – you could take it or leave it.

  20. Hey Mallu,

    I think you got confused between Portugal and South Africa.

    Tsotsi is from SA, directed by Gavin Hood

  21. Copying or imitating is part of every art. Every one will be influenced by something. Thats just the way it is, even in cinema.

    One of my fav filmmakers, Scorsese, made a remake two times (“Cape Fear” and “The Departed”).
    the difference btw Scorsese’s remake and a Pryan remake is that Scorsese completey changes the whole mood in and around the film. He brings in his own style. Its different, it sort of becomes like the same story from a different point of view. Though this doesn’t happen to other HW and other foreign film directors. Only some one with skill can do it.

  22. shocking to know about the film..but dont think lal jose would have watched that film…dont you guys think the writer could be the culprit here.. talking about copying and inspirations i have seen only one in recent times and that was Big B copied almost scene by scene from ‘four brothers’…and talking about mulla i think after doing PhD lal jose has failed in the 10th std exam…. total waste of time…what was the point of bhavana and the film shooting in the beginning…

  23. Tsotsi is South African

  24. the fault mainly lies in Sindhuraj’s pathetic screenplay.

  25. Anyway, the South African filmmaker Gavin Hood, who did Tsotsi,
    is doing the Hollywood film “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”

  26. “lal jose’s debut movie oru maravathoor kanavu itself is a lift from the french movie ‘jean de florette’ penned by the glorified sreenivasan”

    “Udayananu Tharam”, written by Sreenivasan, has many
    similarities to “Bowfinger” which starred and was
    also written by Steve Martin.

    Personally, Sreeni’s scripts have been dissappointing
    after “Narendran Makan Jayakanthan Vaka”.

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