27 Jan, 2022
Film cast, production team and crew members.
Film cast, production team and crew members.

Javed Iqbal: The Untold Story of a Serial Killer is one of the eagerly awaited Pakistani films. The reason is simple: it’s not a run-of-the-mill romantic comedy or a tale of political situation gone awry. As is evident from the title, it is about the infamous man who sexually abused and murdered 100 children in Punjab, and whose story made the headlines in the early 2000s. Therefore, there was no surprise in the fact that the premiere for the film at Nueplex cinema in DHA on Tuesday evening was a well-attended affair.

Yasir Hussain plays the character of Javed Iqbal in the film and Ayesha Omer essays the role of police officer Zara, who investigates the crime. The stars came for the red carpet ceremony after the film’s director Abu Aleeha. He arrived early at the venue.

The film will be released countrywide tomorrow

Talking to Dawn about how much a work of fiction the story is and the kind of research that has gone into the development of the script, Abu Aleeha said, “It is one hundred per cent work of fiction based on true events. The thing is no matter how much you research or google written stuff, it only tells you what Javed Iqbal did and how he confessed to his crime and the punishment meted out to him. We have used a pattern which is: what happened to him during remand when he went into police custody. I had the challan that the police presented for the case and met with the journalist with whom he had communicated through letters. I had also written a book on the subject.”

Responding to the observation that in [Hollywood] movies, serial killers are often shown as reticent, insular characters but the part played by Yasir Hussain appears to be someone who likes to talk, the director replied, “There is not enough material on Javed Iqbal which enables you to know if he talked a lot or not. You can’t show a film through the point of view of a man who has molested and killed 100 children. We are talking about perspective here.”

On why he picked Yasir Hussain to do the main role, he answered he’d seen the actor perform in theatre and knew that he could develop himself for any character.

After the red carpet exchange of pleasantries, the invitees went into the cinema halls to watch the film. One’s initial reaction to the story was that Ayesha Omer shines as the police officer, both unnerved about and angry at the ghastly nature of the crime. As an actress, it is her best performance to date. It was a little confusing to hear the audience chuckle at some of the lines uttered by Yasir as Javed Iqbal. Perhaps he’s portrayed, in this work of fiction, as a witty man with sinister and disturbing designs. Perhaps.

Javed Iqbal: The Untold Story of a Serial Killer will have its countrywide release from Jan 28.

Originally published in Dawn, January 27th, 2022