A national film industry figure. He attended Dutch Algemeene Middelbare School (AMS) (high school) because his parents wanted their child to be a law graduate. But he was more interested in diving into film, with a start as a laborer, helping the decor department in Tan's Film Studio. He got a chance to play in Si Ronda (1930) then in Melatie van Agam while also assisting the director, both are silent films. During the next year this studio began talks of making films with sound, Nyai Dasima (1931), Bachtiar had become a full director. In 1932, he led the Doenia Film magazine (World of Film magazine) that was originally headed by Andjar Asmara. In 1935 following Andjar's footsteps, he entered the Dardanella drama group as an actor.
When the Dardanella broke up in 1936, he joined the Andjar Asmara group, and founded Ballero. Since 1938 headed Bollero that later settled in Malacca until 1945. He was detained in Singapore for not willing to help the UK in entering Indonesia. He returned to Indonesia in 1950, and worked at the Ministry of Information. A year later he began directing PFN feature films, among them, Djiwa Pemuda (Spirit of Youth) (1951) and Antara Tugas dan Tjinta (Between Duty and Love) (1954). The latter is one of Indonesia's first films to be chosen to play in first-class cinemas.