The fragrance and freshness in approach which marked their earlier ventures are missing here. The film is a rehash of their Meesa Madhavan a rip-roaring comedy, while Mulla is made as a brooding and dark tale along with a few Bharathiraja Tamil movies of the late 70s, served in the most unappetising manner.
Dileep's character in Meesa Madhavan was a lovable petty thief with his army of friends and the villain was his future-father-in-law, the local village 'blade' and a Sub- Inspector who wanted to marry his lady love. Here Dileep is an angry young ruffian with a heart of gold, and having a whale of a time with his friends while the black villain is a circle inspector who was instrumental in killing his girlfriend's dad!
The major drawback with Mulla is its basic concept and script of Sindhuraj. It lacks logic, reason and believability. The characters are not well fleshed out; the audiences start getting irritated with their behaviour. How could a 'goonda' suddenly develop a liking for a baby left in a train? Why bring in the Bhavana character for a flash as the baby's mother? The heroine introduced as a middle class girl seems to have nothing better to do than running into a slum to mother the child! Lal Jose the great "romantist" has failed in establishing the love between the lead pair.
The wafer thin story line goes like this- Karaikadu colony adjoining a railway track and the passenger train that runs on the line is the background. Our hero Mulla (Dileep) lives in the colony and is the chief henchman of Ambi Annan(Biju Menon) the local goonda and mercenary. Mulla's mom was a local street prostitute who committed suicide when he was a child, and since she used to wear jasmine flowers to attract customers, the boy grew up as 'Mulla''s son.
Now Mulla, a rogue who operates on the local passenger trains, one day finds an abandoned baby and hands him over to Latchi (Meera Nandan) a passenger on the train. Soon, however, Mulla ends up "mothering" the new born. Latchi has her own problems but is attracted to the child and Mulla, and she is able to transform the rogue into a nice guy. But her uncle circle inspector Bharathan (Saiju Kuruppu) objects and this leads to a bloody feud.
The story is hackneyed and predictable at every twist and turn it takes. Lal Jose has avoided playing to Dileep's strength- comedy, and made it dark, depressing and mushy which is the major draw back of the film. The climax is another weak aspect of the film. Why did Mulla have to lose a leg? Lal Jose's idea to milk audience sympathy for the character ends up making you hate him even more.
Technically there is nothing to recommend in the film, Vipin Mohan's camerawork reminds you of the 70s type family films. Vidyasagar, why are you rehashing your earlier tunes? The best song in the film Kanuvakal Aayiram?, picturisation leaves you cold.
Dileep hardly has any dialogues in the film. He tries to be the angry young man and strives to bring together a primal mixture of affection and savagery. The new girl Meera Nandan is a natural and plays the girl-next door Latchi efficiently. Anoop Kumar as 'Idiappam' the comic side kick of Mulla is good, Biju Menon continues to ham, while Saiju Kurup as the mean cop is a revelation.
On the whole the Lal Jose- Dileep team has delivered a dud with Mulla as it has far too many gaping plot holes, no story to say, and drags big time. Lal Jose needs good script writers like a Sreenivasan or a James Albert for him to package his films as breezy entertainers.