The kinematics of passive scalar mixing and its relation to local flow topology and dilatation in compressible turbulence are examined using direct numerical simulations (DNS) of decaying isotropic turbulence. The main objective of this work is to characterize the dependence of various evolution mechanisms of scalar dissipation on local streamline topology and normalized dilatation. The DNS results indicate that the topology has a stronger influence on the nonlinear amplification mechanism than the dilatation level of a fluid element. In its appropriately normalized form, the amplification mechanism is found to be fairly independent of the Mach and Reynolds numbers. Non-focal topologies (the so called unstable-node/saddle/saddle and stable-node/saddle/saddle) are found to be associated with more intense mixing than the focal topologies at almost all dilatation levels. Alignment tendencies (jointly conditioned upon topology and dilatation) between the scalar-gradient vector and the strain-rate eigenvectors are shown to play a key role in shaping the observed behaviour in compressible turbulence. Finally, some modelling implications of these findings are discussed.