Ferdousi Majumdar, one of the towering figures in Bangladeshi theatre, has a made rich contribution to the country's cultural arena. She is one of the leading figures of the neo-theatre movement which reshaped the country's theatre scenario in independent Bangladesh.
The virtuoso actor was born on June 18, 1943 in Barisal in a well-off Muslim family. Her father Khan Bahadur Abdul Halim was a District Magistrate. Ferdousi grew up in Dhaka in close contact with the cultural fraternity.
After completing HSC from Eden Girls' College, she earned her MA degree with a double major in Bangla and Arabic from the University of Dhaka. She started her professional career as a teacher at Agrani Girls' High School in Azimpur, and later taught at Wills Little Flower School for many years.
Ferdousi Majumdar stepped into the theatre arena through her brother Munier Chowdhury, a playwright, novelist, educationist and a martyred intellectual. She first played a role in Munier Chowdhury's Roktakto Prantor while she was still a college student.
After enrolling in Dhaka University, she acted in the play Dando O Dando-dar alongside her teacher Rafiqul Islam. Later, she became involved with a Dhaka University-based theatre forum. From then on, she continued to act in theatre productions and became a regular face on stage.
In 1972, when Abdullah Al Mamun and Ramendu Majumdar formed “Theatre”, Ferdousi joined the newly-formed troupe. She is still working with the troupe, dedicating her life for the enrichment of Bangladeshi theatre.
She played key roles in many notable theatrical productions, including Payer Awaz Paoa Jaye, Kokilara, Macbeth, Meraj Fakirer Maa, and Baramkhana.
Not only in theatre, Ferdousi also made her mark in other fields of acting: television drama and film. She has the rare glory of acting in the first play aired on Bangladesh Television (BTV).
In her illustrious career, spreading over four decades, she played a number of memorable roles in both theatre and television plays. Her role of Hurmoti in the drama serial Shongshoptok will forever be etched in the hearts of audience. Ferdousi Majumdar has acted in around 300 television plays till date.
Her notable television plays and serials include Borof Gola Nodi, Ekhono Kritodas, Jibito O Mrito, Nivrito Jotone, Tahader Joubonkaal, and Shonkhoneel Karagar.
She was so popular on stage that celebrated playwright-actor-director Abdullah Al Mamun would write plays keeping her in mind. Abdullah Al Mamun made an 86-minute documentary, Jibon O Obhinoy on Ferdousi Majumdar, which broadly focuses on her life as an actor.
The actor has also appeared in two films: Maa-er Odhikar and Domka. Besides, she also directed a number of plays. Her notable directorial works include Krishnokanter Will, Chithhi, Tahara Tokhon, Meherjan Arekbar, and Mukut, among others.
In recognition of her outstanding contribution to Bangla drama, Ferdousi Majumdar was awarded the Ekushey Padak, the highest civilian honour in Bangladesh.