"I have no heritage; I am a self-made man and proud of the fact. All that I have was acquired from life with my own efforts." So says M Sadiq, one of the busiest and most flourishing directors today in Bombay's filmdom. His most recent film is "Taj Mahal", a historical at the box-office with its success and has provoked several producers to drop the contemporary themes in hand and rush to the brittle pages of medieval history texts.
Prior to "Taj Mahal", Sadiq made Guru Dutt's "Chaudhvin Ka Chand", another box-office storm, which sent the stock of Muslim romantic themes soaring with producers who continue to be attracted by any romantic story which has Muslim characters wearing dated costumes and sporting dated manners. Sadiq himself is in to repeat the success formula of his last two pictures in the four assignments that he has now got in hand. One of them is Zenith Productions' "Noorjehan", a historical theme starring Meena Kumari and Pradeep Kumar. Another is Sanamkada's "Bahu Begum", a Muslim romance again starring Meena Kumari and Pradeep Kumar. "Salma", which he is making for Kwatra Art Productions, is also a Muslim romance set against the Lucknow backdrop. His fourth assignment, sealed the other day with producer Guru Dutt, again involves romantic tale.
Education for Life
Mohammed Sadiq, who has been in films for almost three decades now and has so far directed about two dozen films (Many of them his own productions), was born in Lahore on March 2, 1911, in a family of small traders. He says his boyhood was a colourless affair in which here were no games or thrills. Soon after passing his matriculation examination in 1927, he got a job as a clerk-cum-telephone operator in the Chief Mechanical Engineer's office in Kenya and Uganda Railways and Harbours Administration. The job took him to Nairobi where he spent two years earning a salary of 150 shillings a month. Family problems then brought him back to Lahore where, in 1930, he joined producer A R Kardar's United Players Corporation as a clerk.
Kardar's concern folded up in 1931 and Sadiq spent the next four years, a period of grim struggle for existence, doing a variety of odd jobs. Picking and quitting, according to the pressure of the moment, one job after another, he served variously as typist, day-book writer in a bank, lithographer and press compositor. Those four years, Sadiq says "educated me in the ways of life." The one thing that made him cultivate the habit of talking less and observing more in life was his defective speech. A stammered since childhood (he still stammers), he would generally provoke ridicule whenever he opened his mouth to speak. This taught him to speak only when he must.
He was working as the head clerk in a concern called Lakshmi Petroleum Company when A R Kardar, who was then directing films in Calcutta, took him away to Calcutta as his assistant; Sadiq thus started his film career under Kardar in 1935. The first picture with which he was associated was "Baghi Sipahi". Sadiq assisted Kardar in Calcutta in two more films and towards the end of 1937 came to Bombay where Kardar had an assignment to direct "Baghban".
After "Baghban," Sadiq followed Kardar into Ranjit Film Company for whom the duo made two films, "Thokar" and "Holi". On these two films, besides being the assistant director, Sadiq was also the story and dialogue writer. He assisted Kardar in four more films one of which ("Pooja") he also wrote.