EXCLUSIVE: Javed Iqbal: The Untold Story Of A Serial Killer, which was banned in Pakistan two days before its scheduled release in theaters, will now see the light of day as the opening movie of the 2022 UK Asian Film Festival.
The premiere will take place on May 4 at London’s BFI Southbank. The film depicts the untold story of Lahore’s notorious serial killer, Javed Iqbal, who confessed to police and media that he had abducted, sexually abused and murdered 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 cell. The authorities suspected his horrific crimes were part of a wider paedophile ring in operation.
The movie was eagerly awaited in its native Pakistan but after a preview screening in Karachi it was abruptly pulled by the government’s Central Bureau of Film Censors, despite it initially receiving censor approval. The decision was met with widespread condemnation by the film community and those who had been involved in the Javed Iqbal investigation. A high court case is currently ongoing in a bid to retract the decision.
The film is based on writer-director Abu Aleeha’s own novel Kukri. It was produced by Javed Ahmed Kakepoto and stars Yasir Hussain and Ayesha Omar, all of whom will introduce the film at its UK screening.
“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.”
Closing this year’s UK Asian Film Festival will be UK Premiere of Gangnam Girls, the Bhutanese feature directed by Charmi Nemchand Chheda. The film charts four childhood friends who, a decade after a fallout that takes them on their separate ways, reconnect over the course of a weekend. Director Chheda will be joined by producer Zangmo Dukpa at the screening.
This year’s fest is themed ‘Dare To ‘Dream, commemorating 75 years of India and Pakistan’s Independence. Films will be screened across the UK including in Birmingham, Leicester, Coventry, Warwick, Bradford, Stockton and Glasgow; and online via BFI Player and Modern Films.
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