Release of Yasir Hussain, Ayesha Omar's Javed Iqbal: The Untold Story of a Serial Killer postponed till January
Javed Iqbal: The Untold Story of a Serial Killer, which is based on the life of real life serial killer Javed Iqbal, was slated for a theatrical release on December 24 but three days before the release, the team has announced that the film's debut has been postponed till January.
Lead actors Yasir Hussain and Ayesha Omar have also shared the news.
While the film has been cleared by the censor board, the film's distributor, Umar Khitab Khan, told Pakistani Cinema that the decision was taken due to films like Spider-Man: No Way Home doing well in theatres and then * The Matrix Resurrections* being lined up right after.
Khan said cinemas have not started to "operate all of their screens" so releasing their own film in such circumstances will result in the film not getting the "adequate screen share that it deserves." Considering it in the best interests of their film as well as the industry, Khan announced that they have decided to delay the release.
“Javed Iqbal has been cleared from both the Punjab and Sindh [censor boards]," director Abu Aleeha told Images. "However, Islamabad has refused to clear it and as per the policy of censor board, if the board members refuse to clear it, you can then appeal in full board. The board members then meet where they judge the content and then decide if the verdict given by a few members was correct or wrong," he explained. If approval is still not given, the movie maker can approach the high court.
"There’s no problem with the content being shown in the film. The censor board in Islamabad has previously rejected my film Sheenogai as well all because of one member, Hafiz Tahir Khalil who comes from a 'jihadist' mindset and disapproves of anything that has something to do with feminism or showing the real face of our society. My previous film was launched everywhere else in the country and digitally as well and that could be the case for Javed Iqbal as well," Aleeha said.
The second reason for the delay, according to him, is that cinemas are not operating all their screens. "Look at Kahay Dil Jidhar, three days after its release, you’re not able to find it! There’s a policy of cinema owners and that is if a movie is grossing well the show timings for it will be increased over the other scheduled films," he said. Right now, Spider-Man: No Way Home is fully booked and the show timings are being extended each day, said the director.
"Right after that comes The Matrix Resurrection, which is also a big budget film. Cinema owners suggested that we should postpone it because the reaction for Javed Iqbal is different than the rest.
"It's based on my novels based on Javed Iqbal, he said, adding that the first is being covered in Javed Iqbal: The Untold Story of a Serial Killer and the other will be based on a second novel launching the second week of January. The second film will start filming in March with Yasir Hussain playing the lead and the rest of the cast will change. The second part will be filled with action and thriller and is slated to release on Eid ul-Azha next year.”
Omar, who will be seen as a police officer investigating the killer in the film, posted the news on her Instagram Stories and called it a "great decision that had to be done." Hussain who is playing the titular Javed Iqbal re-shared it on his Stories though he hasn't made any comment so far.
She told Images that she's glad the release date has been pushed back because of the spread of the new Covid variant. The smog in Punjab is a big issue too, she believes. The actor said they wanted to wait for the smog to settle down a bit so that people in Punjab can come watch the movie too.
Speaking to Images, Hussain said they've decided to promote the film more during this extra time. "I don't want to brag but the movie is great and this is the only reason behind it being postponed."
The official trailer of the film was released on December 8. The film is based on Javed Iqbal, a serial killer who murdered over 100 young boys in Lahore in 1998. The movie is helmed and written by Abu Aleeha and produced by Javed Ahmed Kakepoto.
With additional reporting by Irfan Ul Haq