Exclusive: Javed Iqbal: The Untold Story of a Serial Killer, Which was banned in Pakistan two days before its scheduled theatrical release, will now see the light of day as the opening film of the 2022 UK Asian Film Festival.
The premiere will take place on May 4 at BFI Southbank in London. The film depicts the untold story of Javed Iqbal, a notorious serial killer in Lahore, who confessed to police and media that he had abducted, sexually abused and killed more than 100 boys in Lahore between 1998 and 1999. He was arrested and sentenced to death But just two years into his sentence, he allegedly committed suicide in his prison. Authorities suspected that his heinous crimes were part of a larger pedophile cycle in the operation.
The movie was eagerly awaited in its birthplace Pakistan but was pulled by the government’s Central Bureau of Film Censors after a preview screening in Karachi, though it was initially censored. The decision was widely condemned by the film community and those involved in Javed Iqbal’s investigation. A decision is currently being taken in a high court to reverse the decision.
The film is based on a novel by writer-director Abu Alehar Cookery. It is produced by Javed Ahmed Kakepoto and stars Yasir Hussain and Ayesha Omar, all of whom will present the film at a UK screening.
“The importance of this image cannot be underestimated. It highlights an issue – the abuse and genocide of young boys – which is very important and still rarely discussed, “said Dr Pushpinder Chowdhury, founder and director of the UK Asian Film Festival. “It has always been very convenient for South Asian societies to brush such issues under the carpet, but only by creating a safe place to deal with these problems and their root causes can we begin to make the much needed social change we need.” In this way, we are all grateful to the makers of this film. “
This year’s UK Asian Film Festival will conclude with a UK premiere Gangam Girls, Bhutanese feature directed by Charmi Nemchand Chheda. The film charts four childhood friends who, a decade later, reconnect over the weekend after taking them on a different path. Producer Jangmo Dukpa will join director Chheda at the screening.
The theme of this year’s fest is ‘Dare to Dream’, commemorating 75 years of independence of India and Pakistan. Films will be screened across the UK, including Birmingham, Leicester, Coventry, Warwick, Bradford, Stockton and Glasgow; And online through BFI Player and Modern Films.