Kashmiri filmmaker Mushtaaque Khan was on jury of Nepal Film festival

Story by  Ehsan Fazili | Posted by  Aasha Khosa | Date 05-04-2024
Filmmaker Mushtaaque Ali Ahmad Khan at Nepal Cultural International Film Festival
Filmmaker Mushtaaque Ali Ahmad Khan at Nepal Cultural International Film Festival


Ehsan Fazili/Srinagar

Filmmaker Mushtaaque Ali Ahmad Khan, the person behind the Kashmir World Film Festival (KWFF), recently served as a member of the jury at the 5th edition of the three-day ‘Nepal Cultural International Film Festival’ (NCIFF), held at month end i Kathmandu. 37 countries participated in it.

The other members of the jury included Ljubinka Stojanovic from Serbia and Magdalena Juszczyk from Poland. Besides being on the jury, Mushtaaque also shared his expertise in a lecture titled “Filmmaking: Navigating Challenges and Celebrating Victories” in Kathmandu.

He told Awaz-the voice that it was an honour for him to interact with people like Eva Daoud from Bahrein, Proshoon Rahman from Bangladesh, Jan Schlenk from Germany, Arunachalam Vaidyanathan from the USA, Nipon Dholua from India, and Mahera Omar from Pakistan and others.

Mushtaaque Ali Ahmad Khan receiving memento at the Festival

“Attending the Nepal Cultural International Film Festival as a member of the International Jury was one of the most memorable events of my life. The passion for cinema and the opportunity to connect with talented individuals from around the world was truly inspiring”, he said

Mushtaaque Ali Ahmad Khan is an actor, theatre practitioner, broadcaster, and TV producer. He is the Founder and Director of “The Kashmir World Film Festival” (KWFF) and has organized four editions in Srinagar and one at Pune, Maharashtra.

He has received more than two dozen awards and felicitations for his four decades of work in theatre, TV, and Films.    

"My nomination to the jury of the Nepal Cultural International Film Festival has opened a new chapter in my career….I am humbled. This experience will surely help me in taking my festival ‘Kashmir World Film Festival’ to the next level”, he told Awaz-the Voice.

Mushtaaque Ali Ahmad Khan with other jury members and organisers at Kathmandu

Muhtaaque Ali started his career as a stage actor and later in Radio. “After a decade I shifted to TV Productions. In 2017 he started organising Film

With militancy erupting in early 1990 when “everything changed for the people living in the Valley” Mushtaaque’s work also came to a standstill. he said. “Before 1990 I had established good connections with many film production houses from Mumbai. But later film shootings were discontinued here as the theatre activities were also discontinued completely”,

As the shooting for Bollywood’s tryst with Kashmir gradually returned in 1999 with Rattan Irani’s “Meray Apney” (not released), the hopes soared for the shooting of other films in the years that followed.

These movies included “Mann”, “Mission Kashmir”, “Tahaan” and “Lamha”. Mushtaaque Ali, thus, in 2007 got an opportunity “to work as a subject consultant in the film “Tahaan”, starring Rahul Bose, Anupam Kher and others,  Produced, Directed and Cinematographed by Santosh Sivan.

“Although the team was from Mumbai, most of the technical team was from South India…. The shooting was completed in one month, about 25 days in Pahalgam and five days in Srinagar in December”, under the harsh winter of Kashmir, he said.

Mushtaaque Ali Ahmad Khan with others at the festival

Mushtaaque Ali Ahmad Khan was first attracted toward music in his school days “I used to take part in cultural programmes in school as a singer. When I joined the NCC, I got several chances to showcase my talent of singing”, he told Awaz-the Voice.

The Television opened its doors for Mushtaque Ali as an actor in soaps and serials. “During my post-graduation (1980-81) in the University of Kashmir I was among the active members of the University Cultural Club '', he told Awaz-the Voice.

He sang ghazals and acted in short plays during the two years of post-graduation in Geography, in which he became Secretary of the University’s Cultural Club. After completing his Post Graduation

“I formally joined theatre…. Remained very active and used to do rehearsals for two or three plays simultaneously with different groups”, he commented. He again joined Doordarshan as an actor and also participated in Radio Plays. By the late 1980s, after producing several documentary films, he got approvals for some Telefilms and Tele Serials (Fiction), conforming to his taste. As a result, he got awards from the prestigious J&K Academy of Art, Culture, and Languages and other institutions during his career that followed and continued for the last 25 years.

He worked on the project Ghalib, a 13-episode serial for DD-Urdu. “My idea of working on the project titled ‘Na Hota Main to Kya Hota’, was to work from a different perspective, on Ghalib's world of fantasy”, he said. The serial emphasized Ghalib’s fantasies through the medium of his “romantic poetry”.

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The musical production posed a challenge as the locations, costumes, props, and other things had to be very genuine and authentic, “which took me nearly four months to look for a suitable location”. The shooting for this serial was completed in the historical town of ‘Amroha’, near Moradabad in UP, ‘Purana Qila’ in Delhi, and a few other places. These locations also helped me in getting access to the old furniture, and other props like stitching of costumes of that era.