Miss Top Ten (2009)
Cast: Sana, Moammar Rana, Asha Alvi, Ahmed Butt, Sajna, Akhtar Shad, Ashraf Rahi
Director: Rasheed Dogar
Nutshell: Sugar Daddies, AIDS, Prostitution, Sleaze, Stalkers, Murder and Mayhem. All in a day’s work for Rasheed Dogar, the Prince of Sleaze.
In the opening scenes, we are introduced to a disgruntled family with the man of the house being treated by his wife as a moron (which he undoubtedly is). The Mrs. is the one wearing the pants in the house and has a plan of action which involves cashing in on her lifelong investment; her voluptuous young daughter Rabeel. The Mrs dreams of money, glamour and fame and the only ticket she has to achieving these dreams is her bombshell of a daughter who she has groomed to conquer the world as she finally reaches sweet 16.
The eyes of the world are fixed on Pakistan, not because of some new terrorist horror but this time because the coronation of the new Miss Top Ten is about to be take place. The Mrs strikes gold as her investment wins the ultimate accolade, what every young girl aspires to be: garlanded as Miss Top Ten. Now all that remains for Mama is to start booking her daughter with clients and watch the money start to flow. Miss Top Ten herself appears to have no qualms and throws herself energetically into the arms of the sleazebags her mom arranges for her dancing into the wee hours of the morning with a radiant smile on her face.
Unknown to her Miss Top Ten also has an overly devoted admirer in magazine reporter Aamir (Moammar Rana) whose colour spreads of her in spectacular poses have catapulted her to fame and allowed her mother to increase her asking price to a new record high. Gifts start to pour in as Miss Top Ten entertains the rich and randy on a regular basis. Cars, houses, flats, clothes all start to amass at Miss Top Ten’s Mom’s domain and life is rosy. However, complications soon arise in the form of unbridled jealousy.
First there is a young siren who hopes that if Miss Top Ten can be toppled then she can acquire the title and live happily ever after. She offers Aamir her body, her soul, her wealth and probably an STD or two but despite a sultry song where she rubs herself up and down his body and jumps into a swimming pool fully clothed and contorts in some highly impressive ways (“10” from the Soviet Judge), Aamir is unmoved, throwing her aside and walking off in a huff. He has eyes only and only for Miss Top Ten and nobody else. In fact, his infatuation now develops into obsession and murder as he starts to stalk the Sugar Daddies enjoying the pleasure of Miss Top Ten’s company, hunting them down and killing them in cold blood.
As the body count mounts the Police are left floundering but eventually arrest Miss Top Ten in suspicion of murder. In another twist, the bitchy siren who had so coveted the Miss Top Ten title returns and convinces her rich, influential and handsome friend to deliberately deceive Miss Top Ten and trigger her downfall by paying for her bail and taking her under his wing.
The plan works quite brilliantly with Miss Top Ten jumping at the opportunity to exploit her rich patron’s generosity. She takes to what she knows best, bursting into a couple of sexy songs in order to keep his interest from waning. Soon love blossoms between them but the siren doesn’t take kindly to being double crossed and reminds her friend of his evil pact with her. Meanwhile Aamir, having killed a bunch of rich, chubby uncles now has a new obstacle in his way in this studly fellow named Baashi who apparently Miss Top Ten is bent on marrying.
Among the biggest shocks in the film and perhaps the first ever occasion in Lollywood cinema occurs when Baashi announces to Miss Top Ten that she didn’t contract AIDS from him and that he is safe and instead of marrying her he has decided to leave the country and head to the West where AIDS and such horrors are still fairly unknown in comparison to Pakistan.
Meanwhile the Mrs and her Scream-Queen of a son are deep in depression with their golden goose seemingly well and truly cooked.
A final showdown occurs between the AIDS Victim, the Stalker and Baashi where gargantuan speeches, emotions, fists and bullets fly with typical glee.
Miss Top Ten is the usual Rasheed Dogar mix of sleaze, social commentary and highly dubious morals. In his previous movie Saturday Night, he advocated the murder of stage dancers and in this film, he appears to be in similar mode. He is the epitome of Pakistani double standards, exploiting sex and sleaze while moralizing about their evil; lining his pockets by serving up delectable sleaze while trying to take the moral high ground!
The film has some of the same ingredients that keep popping up in other Dogar Productions. The family under stress because the male in the house is emaciated and women, given half a chance are pure evil and care only about glamour, fame and wealth. There children are simply raised in order to bring financial gain and frequently the son of the family will be a screaming and scheming homosexual, living his sordid dreams through his gorgeous sister.
Dogar’s Miss Top Ten also sheds light on the common perception of the Pakistani entertainment business simply being a front for prostitution and immorality. Rasheed Dogar’s films might not be the most aesthetically pleasing experiences but in a warped way they do shed light upon perceptions and sleaze within our society and they touch upon some areas that we prefer not to talk about. Unfortunately, the tone of his films is totally exploitative and he never appears to be looking for solutions remaining happy to exploit yet condemn his subjects as worthless scum but happy at the same time to be earning a livelihood off them.
Moammar Rana tries his best but comes across as a comical imitation of Shahrukh Khan from Darr. His “psychotic mode” is really very amusing for all the wrong reasons. Sana as Rabeel/Miss Top Ten jumps into a vigorous dance in between looking very puzzled and seemingly very happy to be cavorting with 50-year-old millionaires as a girl who provides “Golden Nights”. The Policeman is all seriousness but is so utterly clueless and such an awful actor that he is provides much of the unintended humour of the film. Ex Body Builder Ahmed Butt might be fit but his acting chops are absolutely nonexistent.
After an entertaining first hour, the film starts losing impetus with too many songs being crammed into the last half hour. The production values are those audiences were becoming accustomed to post the new century with bedrooms, kitchens and private gardens being utilized more than the parks, hills and streams from films of beyond. The kitchen sink style heralded by Dogar and the new breed feels why waste money on scenery when the only scenery their public want to see are some scantily dressed babes! Despite their sleaze and ugliness, Rasheed Dogar’s films are undoubtedly a fascinating reflection of the society which produces and watches them.
Sadly Rasheed Dogar’s socially fascinating slices of sleaze will no longer be in production as the man perished in a horrible fire a few years ago working at a local TV station in the Lahore area.