Tête-à-Tête with Mushtaq Kak
It is surprising how a person from Jammu and Kashmir has worked big and small roles in fifteen Bollywood movies including two movies in the south and yet, Kak is not a name anyone knows of. His keeping a low profile in the state is one thing but the real fact is that Art and Culture is not the biggest advantage in Jammu and Kashmir. More specifically in Jammu, there is barely any interest shown in anything artistically cerebral.
Brought up on the shoulders of a Kashmiri Father and in the lap of a Dogra Mother, Mushtaq Kak takes much pride in saying that he is a Dogra as well as a Kashmiri and that he knows both the cultures equally well.
Mushtaq Kak is known in the professional and media circles as an outspoken person who hides nothing from the listener. He realized his love for stage at a very young age when he was get applauded for playing a part in a Christmas play Christmas Celebrations in his school Alexander Memorial High. The moment he heard people clapping, he decided he wanted to work on stage all his life no matter what.
Mushtaq started working in theatre as Back stage artist. He used to setup lights on stage during his initial days and it is widely accepted across Jammu and Kashmir that till date, after 30 years of him starting work, there is no one better in setting up the lights in Jammu and Kashmir. His mastery of the stage comes from his work as costume designer, makeup artist, set designer.
Mushtaq Kak is the only person from the state of Jammu and Kashmir who has headed a National Cultural Institution in New Delhi. He was the Artistic director of Shri Ram Centre for Performing Arts for an astounding 10 years. Theater has been his soul food for last thirty years now. He has directed plays in Dogri, Urdu, English and even Sanskrit language. He runs the Amateur Theatre group – one of the best theatre groups of the state that too without any grant from government.
He has enacted the lead role of a villain in the movie “Hijack”, besides acting in several other films. He has also acted in a Hollywood movie, “Amal”. He trained child artistes in “Sikandar”, “Black” and “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai”. Mr. Kak has also featured in small and big roles in 15 bollywood movies that include Shahid and Kai Po Che. He has also enacted a major role in Vishwaroopam 1 and 2 alongside legendary actress Waheeda Rehman.
He laments that Art and Culture is in the wrong Hands in Jammu and Kashmir and there have been enough times he has been at loggerheads with the government for one thing or the other and that is also why he keeps a sweet distance away from the government.
It is truly disheartening to see a treasure, a gem such as Mushtaq Kak not having received the recognition he deserves. He explains that he does not believe in appeasing people in Bureaucracy and that has been the reason why. He holds the view that he has been lucky to have met the best of co-workers and students and that he only wants to create a legacy unparalleled in Jammu and Kashmir.