Yasir Hussain, Abu Aleeha announce ‘Javed Iqbal’ sequel

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KARACHI:

Yasir Hussain and Ayesha Omar’s much-awaited film, Javed Iqbal: The Untold Story of a Serial Killer, is getting a sequel. While the biopic on the country’s most notorious serial killer never saw the light of day in Pakistan, it was lauded by the international audience as the cast and crew were invited to several international film festivals to screen their latest offering. 

On Thursday, Hussain took to Instagram and shared an animated poster of their upcoming movie, titled Javed Iqbal 2. The Baadshah Begum actor will be reprising his role as the infamous murderer.

“We’re working on a sequel to Javed Iqbal: The Untold Story of a Serial Killer,” Hussain told The Express Tribune in a telephonic conversation. “Since the film has been banned in Pakistan, we plan on releasing this on OTT.” The Jhooti actor commented that if anyone hadn’t watched the first film, it wouldn’t matter. “We are not targeting this film for Pakistani cinemas; we fully plan to target the sequel for the international audience.”

Hussain added, “Several international film festivals invited us, so we know that the audience has received this subject well. Since Pakistani viewers still haven’t watched the film because of the ban, they can simply watch the sequel, as it will be a more detailed story about Javed Iqbal. Part one was a teaser; this would be the whole film.”

Filmmaker Abu Aleeha confirmed the same. “We are working on a more detailed outlook on Javed Iqbal’s life,” the director shared. “In the first film, we were just showcasing Javed’s life after his arrest. In the second part, we will decode what made him who he was.”

Aleeha added that the sequel, like the first film, is based on his second novel, Kukri 2.Javed Iqbal 2 is based on my second novel of Kukri. But I’ve never made my films as gory as my books,” Aleeha noted. “I know there’s this misconception about how Javed Iqbal film is insensitive and happens to glorify him, but that has never been the case. Not in my first film or the upcoming one. Even though we will have a detailed look into his childhood and crimes, we have not shown a single kid in the film. Our intention behind making a film on Javed Iqbal is to create awareness. That’s about it.”

He further elaborated, “We are very transparent with the story. This film will be more realistic than the first, more brutal. Since our target is the international audience, we don’t have to worry about the censor board and their approval.” Aleeha, while commenting that his first film didn’t have objectionable material as well, shared, “We have signed a contract with a streaming platform; we are primarily targeting film festivals such as Cannes and Toronto International Film Festival. So, we know that we are working on a bigger scale.”

Aleeha also commented that this time around, they have a bigger budget for the film; however, they are yet to finalise the cast. “Yasir and I are still discussing who else should be cast in the film. But since we know we have money on our hands, we will be able to work with a star-studded cast. That’s the idea.”

Previously, it was reported that Javed Iqbal: The Untold Story of a Serial Killer has garnered a place at the DC South Asian Film Festival, where it’ll be screened in November.

The 11th annual film festival will take off in Washington DC, US on November 1 and will run till November 8, event organisers announced on its social media handles. This year’s festival will witness entries from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, the Maldives, and Tibet.

Javed Iqbal: The Untold Story of a Serial Killer is based on a book by its director. Titled Kukri, Iqbal’s childhood name, Aleeha’s work became a bestseller in no time and he decided to turn it into a film, casting Hussain and Omar in lead roles. Since the poster’s release, Hussain was lauded by many fans and his fellow peers for acing the look, but the praise was followed by heavy criticism.

About Javed Iqbal: The Untold Story of a Serial Killer

The actor spoke about making ‘realist’ films in an exclusive interview with the publication. Hussain spoke about how the Pakistani entertainment industry is miles behind, naming the censor board as one of its major setbacks. “We have films like Zindagi Tamasha which is still awaiting its release. Pray tell, what is so unethical about it? We are happy with showing item numbers and cleavages. It was even more common in the 90s, not just today. So, we need to set an age limit for the audience to watch certain films and add a certificate to them.” he said.

“Our lives aren’t this pleasant. Name one incident that really made you proud in the last ten years. We need to take our narratives into our own hands; otherwise, others would take up the opportunity and make films on our stories,” Hussain had shared.

Hussain had shared that working on a biopic of Pakistan’s most terrifying criminal has its own cons. “It wasn’t easy,” he said. “We had to do a lot of research. We have never seen Javed speak or act in a certain way. We know that picture [one he recreated for the poster] and a few accounts of people close to him.”

His story, Hussain responded, was one the audience needed to know. “He didn’t rape two kids. He raped 100 boys,” he said. “If we never made it, someone else would have. This way, we decide how to draw the picture. This isn’t negative content; it’s a true story.”

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