Even as “Durj”is being prepared for screening at Cannes, Shamoon Abbasi has announced his next project, a web series based on the serial killer, Jawed Iqbal. Called “The Legend of Jawed Iqbal”, the web series will attempt to tell the horrific story of the monster, played by Shamoon Abbasi himself, who sexually abused and killed a hundred boys. In an exclusive with PakistaniCinema, Mr. Abbasi shared his plans regarding the series and the future of creative story telling in Pakistan.
“The Legend of Jawed Iqbal” has apparently been in the pipeline for a while now; three to four years in fact. It has had its fair share of hurdles to cross, being based on the most notorious mass murderer in Pakistan’s history, how could it not?” Mr. Abbasi mentioned that between “Durj” and this series, many team members had left. However, the ones that had stayed were very supportive and his resolve was stronger than ever.
The story of Jawed Iqbal does deserve to be told since it represents a public unmasking of one of the most shameful aspects of Pakistani society, that of child abuse. Cases like the Kasur incident and the recent surfacing of reports regarding sexual abuse inside the coal mines of Shahrag, Balochistan aren’t outliers, but part of the ugly secret of child abuse all over Pakistan.
Shamoon tends to feel that bringing these topics out in to the open would at least present an opportunity for self-examination. Whether it would set a trend of films or web series focusing on grittier topics is unclear. He doesn’t seem to care one way or another, since his primary concern is to tell a story.
Lack of Creative Drive in the Entertainment Industry
The topics chosen by Mr. Abbasi might look like the byproduct of morbid fascination to some but to him they simply represent a fascination with everyday life. He puts forward examples like the Netflix show ‘Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes’ and even the 2 minute videos of animals we all find ourselves watching on Facebook every now and then.
He believes observing extraordinary events in ordinary life is much more engaging than indulging in the “vanity projects” that Pakistan’s Entertainment Media is churning out right now. The song-and-dance routine doesn’t interest him, neither does, what he considers, the glamorization of life in Pakistani Cinema. Stories like “The Legend of Jawed Iqbal” stand to engage and enthrall audiences much more than an item number or a series of surface level jokes strung together.
This all ties together with his grievances with most youngsters coming in to film right now. Too many that he has met have little to no regard for the craft or any concept of sacrificing their ego for a character.
“They just care about their juice boxes; they don’t want to get their hands dirty.”
Mr. Abbasi’s own team however, is full of talented people with nothing but respect for the art form. Working with them, he hopes to continue making message-oriented, thought-provoking entertainment on a low budget.
There is no release date for “The Legend of Jawaid Iqbal” at this point, but the trailer is scheduled to be out “soon”. As for the platform of release, Mr. Abbasi is looking to his own production company, “Sham Films”, and not gunning for other streaming services.