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About Abdur Rashid Kardar

Male actor Abdur Rashid Kardar from Pakistan, famous due to film

actor and director


Abdur Rashid Kardar Actor Pictures Interview Biography

Abdur Rashid Kardar (1904-1989), (often abbreviated as A.R. Kardar) is a Pakistani actor and director. He is credited as establishing the film industry in the Bhati Gate locality of Lahore, British India (now in Pakistan).


Solemn beginnings
Kardar started as an arts scholar and a calligraphist making posters for foreign film productions and writing for newspapers of the early 1920s. His work would often lead him to meet filmmakers around India.

In 1924, the first silent film, The Daughters of Today was released in Lahore at a time when the city only had nine operational cinema houses. Most of the films shown in theatres in Lahore were either made in Bombay or Calcuta, besides ones made in Hollywood or London. The Daughters of Today was the brain-child of G.K. Mehta, a former officer with the North-Western Railway, who had imported a camera into the country for this very project from London. He asked Kardar to assist him as an assistant director on the project and ended up giving Kardar his début role in his film as an actor. Muhammad Ismail, his friend and fellow calligraphist, accompanied Kardar in the making of the film.

The film was produced in the first open studio in the city near the Bradlaw Hall. It is believed that some other films had been produced indigenously at the studios which had to be closed down due to unsaid financial reasons. After finishing shooting for the film, Kardar was left with no other role and was neither approached for one for a long time. Hailing from the Bhati Gate locality, where it was not unusual to find writers and poets, Kardar saw a viable future for a film industry.

Foundations for a film industry
In 1928, with no work left after their maiden venture, Kardar and Ismail sold their belongings to set up a studio and production company under the name of United Players Corporation, the foundation stone for the film industry in Lahore. After scouting for locations, they settled for their offices to be established at Ravi Road. Although, the dim-lit area presented with much difficulties after the studios were established. Shootings were only possible in the day-light but nevertheless the area had some very important landmarks like the Ravi Forest and the tombs of Mughal emperor Jahangir and his wife Nur Jahan.

It is reported that the team working at the studios would commute on tangas and even lost equipment once while traveling on the bumpy roads on the horse-drawn carriage. However basic and crude their working conditions, Kardar believed in his work and in 1930 he produced the first film under the studio's banner.

With this film, Husn Ka Daku aka Mysterious Eagle, Kardar made his first directorial début. He also cast himself as an actor in the male lead opposite Gulzar Begum with Ismail in a supporting role. The film featured an American actor, Iris Crawford, as well. The film had mild success at theatres but prominently established Lahore as a functioning film industry. Kardar vowed on not acting in any other film and instead focusing on direction.

Immediately afterwards the studio released the film Sarfarosh aka Brave Heart, with Gul Hameed playing the lead rold with more or less the same cast as in the previous film. This production proved equally appealing but was able to stir noise about this industry in film production circles throughout India. Roop Lal Shori, a resident of Brandreth Road in Lahore, upon hearing of a new film industry in the city, returned to his hometown. He later produced Qismat Ke Her Pher aka Life After Death which would firmly ground the new industry's reputation as being in line with other film industries of the time.

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