Abdur Rashid Kardar is an Indian actor, director, and producer, who was born in 1904. He is known to have established the film industry in the Bhati Gate of Lahore, British India (presently in Pakistan). Kardar started his career as an art scholar and a calligraphist making posters for foreign film directors and writing in the newspapers in the early 1920s. In 1924, a director G. K. Mehta, offered Abdur to assist him in the making of the first-ever silent movie ‘The Daughters of Today’ and also gave him a small role. After his first role, he was not offered a role in the industry for a long time. Since he originated from Bhati Gate, it was a tougher task for him to establish a career in the film industry. In 1928, after Kardar and his friend had no work to do, they sold all their belongings and set up a studio and a production company with the name ‘United Players Corporation’ setting up the foundation stone of the Film Industry in Lahore. Their difficulties did not end there; the shootings were only possible during the day. After many hardships, he finally produced his first film in 1930. With the film, ‘Husn Ka Daku’, Kardar made his directorial debut. He also cast himself as the male lead opposite Gulzar Begum with Ismail in a supporting role. The film also featured an American actor, Iris Crawford. The film had an average success at the theatres but it established Lahore as a functioning film industry. Kardar swore an oath to not act in any other film and instead focusing on the direction. Immediately after, the studio released the film Sarfarosh, with
playing the lead role with more or less the same cast as in the previous film. Roop Lal Shori, who is a resident of Brandreth Road in Lahore, when he heard of a new film industry in the city, he returned to his hometown.
Kardar shifted to Kolkata in 1930 and joined the East India Film Company, where he helped them in making of seven movies. After the company was closed down in 1937 he moved to Bombay and became a part of the Film City where he made one film Baaghban. It won the Gohar Gold Medal. Subsequently, he joined Ranjeet Movietone in 1937 and made three movies with them. From here he moved to Circo Productions Ltd. but just one year later, in 1939, when Circo Productions Ltd. went into liquidation Kardar bought out the company and started it as Kardar Productions. In the same compound, he also started Kardar Studios and started making movies under the Kardar Productions banner from 1940 onwards. Kardar Studios was one of the best-equipped studios in those days and also the first to have air-conditioned makeup rooms. After the partition in 1947, A. R. Kardar and his brother-in-law
left for Pakistan but they returned to India again, and no reason was given for their return.
Kardar went back to film making and directed Dard (1947), which starred Suraiya and had music by Naushad. Dillagi (1949), a romantic tragedy, was an enormous success at the box-office. Inspired by
(1939), Kardar later used the plot in the movie Dil Diya Dard Liya (1966). Dillagi's music by Naushad became extremely popular eminent; especially Suraiya's song "Tu Mera Chand". Dulari (1949) had equally renowned music, with a memorable
song "Suhani Raat Dhal Chuki". Dastan (1950) a tragic melodrama, was inspired by the film “Enchantment”, and was cited as one of the biggest commercial hits. Jadoo (1951) and Deewana (1952) marked the seperation of ways between Kardar and Naushad. Dil-E-Nadaan (1953) had popular music by
. He made three more films before starting Dil Diya Dard Liya (1966), which again had music by Naushad. Kardar's last film was Mere Sartaj (1975).
He introduced many artists to the Hindi film industry, including Naushad, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Suraiya. The legendary singer Mohammad Rafi got his first hit from the song, 'Suhani Raat dhal Chuki' – from Kardar's film Dulari. He also started the Kardar-Kolynos Contest, to find new talent and through this contest, he discovered and introduced to the industry,
and . Mehboob Khan's wife
was the sister of Bahar, Kardar's wife. Kardar was the step-brother of Pakistan's famous cricketer A. H. Kardar (Abdul Hafeez Kardar). Kardar, who lived in Marine Drive, died at the age of 85 years, on 22 November 1989, in Mumbai, Maharashtra.