Yasir Hussain announces ‘Javed Iqbal’ world premiere

Yasir Hussain’s biopic on Pakistan’s notorious serial killer, Javed Iqbal, is finally getting the recognition it deserves! The Abu Aleeha directorial will make its world premiere at the UK Asian Film Festival in May, reported Deadline. Taking to Instagram, Hussain expressed gratitude for the feat while lamenting how his own people can’t recognise noteworthy content. 

Yeh bohot fakhar ki baat hai k UK Asian film festival hamari movie ko itni izzat de raha hai magar afsos hai k hum kabhi apna content aur apny log pehchan nahi paaty. (It’s a matter of great pride that the UK Asian Film Festival has honoured our film but sadly, sometimes our own people cannot recognise local content),” he penned on Instagram.

Pakistan mai yeh Pakistani kahani ban ho gai magar eid pe aap apny culture pe banai gai 5 movies zaroor dekhiye ga (Pakistan has banned this Pakistani story but you should watch five local films made on our culture),” the actor retorted. “Thank you, Abu Aleeha and Javed Ahmed Kakepoto for making this different movie.”

Hussain concluded, “Pakistani bloggers ko agar talakon ki gehraiyon mai jany se fursat hoti toh yeh khabar bhi lagaty (If Pakistani bloggers were done with the divorce discourse on television, they would have run this news as well.”

“The importance of this film cannot be underestimated. It brings to light an issue – the abuse and mass murder of young boys – that is of the utmost importance and yet rarely discussed,” commented UK Asian Film Festival Founder and Director, Dr Pushpinder Chowdhry. “It has always been far too convenient for South Asian societies to brush such issues under the carpet but only by creating safe spaces in which to confront these issues and their root causes can we begin to create the meaningful social change we need. In that way, we all owe a debt of gratitude to the creators of this film.”

The Javed Iqbal ban

In January, a day before its release, Hussain and Ayesha Omar’s recent offering, Javed Iqbal, was stopped from screening by the Punjab government and the Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC). The film was stopped being screened in cinemas nationwide.

Censor Board insiders had confirmed to The Express Tribune that they had previously not banned the film but had suggested a few cuts and beeps. However, when they went to the premiere, they saw the film being screened unedited and uncut. The Board insiders are willing to call a full board to reconsider the film but they haven’t received any request from the makers in writing.

However, Aleeha later took to Twitter and addressed the censor board’s decision to stop the release of his film with a jibe. “Javed Iqbal will not be screened in cinemas,” the director retorted, adding, “Instead, please screen any drama’s first or last episode.”

Prior to this, Omar had shared an elaborate post on Instagram to air her sadness over the decision. She wrote: “This is so sad. The film had been passed by all censor boards including Punjab and only then was the release date announced. But right after the Karachi premiere, the Punjab Government decided to halt the release and review it again?” The actor explained how films based on real-life villains like Iqbal are real horror stories that need to be told because they “expose the psychology of psychopath serial killers, talk about issues like child kidnapping, abuse and murder, shed light on the dark side of society and our social construct.”

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