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.
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.
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 dÃ©nouement. 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.
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.
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