Srinagar: Until a year ago, Tasaduq Hussain Mufti was largely known for his award-winning camera work in hit Bollywood movie Omkara. That he is the son of former Indian home minister and former JK chief minister was added as secondary information.
Last year, he drew media attention when he stood by his grieving sister and chief minister Mehbooba Mufti at their father’s graveyard in south Kashmir.
That was the time when buzz about his joining politics started.
It took him exactly a year — on the first death anniversary of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed — to step into his father’s shoes.
“It was not easy for him to join politics. He is not a politician,” a senior party leader pleading anonymity said.
The 45-year-old Tasaduq, addressed ‘Nikki’ at home, who left his home as a teenager to become a cinematographer, has a keen interest in environment, architecture and heritage. That became apparent when he talked about environment in his maiden appearance in a PDP meeting at Mufti’s Fairvew residence on Gupkar last year.
“Downtown architecture and Dal Lake are quite close to his heart. He wants to preserve them,” said a person privy to him.
According to him, he would not discuss politics even with his friends. “He would always show concern towards issues that plague Kashmir such as traffic congestion or other issues but not politics.”
A party leader said, “He has no traits or pretensions of a politician both in terms of oratory skills or aura. He is naïve and it took him a year to understand politics and is still an amateur. He keenly followed his father’s speeches after his death.”
At a workshop he held for budding Kashmiri filmmakers in Srinagar outskirts last year, he had discouraged discussion on politics. But he would always spell out his plans about development, which he considers should not be subservient to Kashmir politics.
“His formally joining politics is a shocker for me. He never showed inclination towards it,” said a youth who attended the workshop.
A leader close to Mufti family said he was not interested in politics during his father’s lifetime even as Mufti himself desired his son to carry forward his legacy.
“His joining politics is political expediency and not a choice,” he said.
Addressing a gathering after announcing his plunge into politics, Tasaduq said, “I have remained aloof from politics all my life. But today I have joined the PDP officially and it is a very important day of my life. I will walk with you and take your aspirations along.”
A person who has worked with him said he openly shares his dislike for the slow pace of work and hassles in the Jammu and Kashmir.
“I have felt the pace of government work. The speed with which work happens here, what dream can be realised?” Tasaduq told the gathering.
Soon after Mufti’s death, several PDP leaders told this correspondent that initially he was not in “favour” of the alliance with the BJP. For at least six months, he was not happy with the decision once the coalition came into being in March 2015. Later his father had reportedly travelled to meet him in Bangalore, where he was based before shifting to the Valley.
With speculations, Tasaduq will contest his maiden elections from Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency, which fell vacant after Mehbooba took over as the CM. All eyes are on the American Film Institute alumnus to see if Kashmir politics allows translation of his “dream” into reality.