It was in the year 1959 that Ferdausi Rahman’s illustrious career as a playback singer began. Legendary Ehtesham directed and released the film Edesh Tomar Amar. Another legend of Bangladesh’s film history Khan Ataur Rahman directed the music for that movie.

Ferdausi, however, did her first playback for the film Aaseeya, directed by Fateh Lohani. The recording was done in 1959, but the film was released in 1960. Initially, Ferdausi’s father the legendary Abbasuddin directed music for this film. But he could not complete his task as he passed away. After Abbasuddin’s death, Abdul Ahad and Samar Das took over.The recording of Aaseeya was done in a small studio in Tejgaon inside the BG Press.There was a small recorder totally non professional. But this is how it all started. Soon the Film Development Corporation came into being. The first song that she recorded was “o more kalare kala “ a bhawaiya song. Then was recorded a duet with her brother Mustafa Zaman Abbasi and the song was “dawae korche magh maghali”, a song already made by her father Abbasuddin.

Abbasuddin always wanted her daughter to be a playback singer. In 1959, Khan Ataur Rahman came to Abbasuddin and told him that he wanted her daughter to sing for his film. Abbasuddin happily obliged. This was the film named “e desh tomar amar.” This film was released before Aaseeya. It may be mentioned here that Aaseeya was declaredas the  best film produced in Pakistan at that time and received Best Film Award.

Ehtesham’s Rajdhanir Bukey was released in 1960. This was Ferdausi’s first  endeavour as a music director. Her co-director was Robin Ghosh with whom Ferdausi worked a lot in the later years. At first she refused to work as a music director because considered herself unfit for it as she was a student of music herself back then. But Ehtesham, whom Ferdausi called “chacha” (uncle) insisted. All of them worked for the music in Ferdausi’s living room. Some of her hit songs in this film were “Ei raat boley ogo tumi amar” and “Ei shundor prithibite, ami eshechinu kitchu neete.” The greatest hit from that album was “Tomare legechhe ato je bhalo” by Talat Mahmud. Ferdausi, however, gives the total credit for this song to Robin Ghosh because she herself was busy with her exams then.

Harano Din, directed by Mustafiz in 1961, became the first Bangladeshi film to make Silver Jubilee. This was also the very first film appearance of Shabnam as a heroine who went on to become one of the most identifiable figures in Bangladesh’s film scenario. This film is also remembered by many because of fabulous on screen performance by Golam Mostafa, another legendary figure in Bangladesh’s cultural arena and Rahman , the hero of the film.. Popular songs from the film include   “Ami rupnogorer rajkonnya” , “Bujhina mon je dole banshiro shure” and “Ei je nijhum raat “ all sung by Ferdausi. In fact all the songs were immensely popular at that time. Robin Ghosh was the music director.

Tomar Amar was released in the same year. It was directed by Mohiuddin, Ferdausi’s teacher Qader Zameri did the music. Noted lyricist Abu Hena Mostafa Kamal wrote songs. In those days, Abu Hena had just begun writing modern Bangla songs. Ferdausi sang some of the songs in that film. The songs were recorded in Lahore.

In 1962, director Salahuddin released Suryasnan, with Khan Ataur Rahman’s music as the Music Director. The Bengali film for the first time had a Urdu song in it. It was  Mujra type(a classical style), which Ferdausi was really comfortable at because she sings classical too.

Ehtesham’s Chanda was released in the year 1962. It was the first  Urdu film fully  made with a full Bengali crew. Ehtesham wanted to catch the market of both the then Pakistan’s and he was successful. The number “O pardesia”, tuned by Robin Ghosh, became an instant hit throughout the country. Ferdausi giving voice for Shabnam, became a popular pairing. Other playback artists to have sung in that film were Farida Yasmin (elder sister of Sabina Yasmin) and Anjuman Ara Begum. All the songs of this film were unbelievably popular through the country.

Another very popular film Jowar Elo was released in the same year. Abdul Jabbar Khan, father of Bangladeshi film industry, was the directo The most popular song of that film was “O rongeela, mone je laage ato rong”.

The year 1962 saw yet another first. This time Ferdausi introduced Abdul Jabbar whose first film song was a duet with her. Later  Jabbar  went on to become really popular as a playback singer. The film was Notun Shur. Ehtesham directed and Robin Ghosh did the music.

In 1963, Mustafiz made Talash. Bashir Ahmed was introduced as a playback artist in this film who later became a popular singer and a composer. The most popular song of this film was “Kutch apni kahiye, kutch meri suniye” sung by Ferdausi. The somg was also sung by Bashir Ahmed.

1964 was a landmark year for Bangladesh’s film history. Three first times converged into the super duper hit film Shutoraang. It was Shubhash Dutta’s  first direction, Satya Saha’s first music for a film, and Kobori’s first appearance on screen. Noted poet Syed Shamsul Haq wrote the songs. Satya Shaha grabbed everybody’s attention with his very first music direction. Kobori too didn’t have to look back after that. The hit song of this film was  Ferdausi’s “Porane dola dilo e kon bhromora.” The popular duet sung by Ferdausi and Abbasi was also another hit song, “Nodi banka jani, chand banka jani”

Ferdausi worked a lot with Satya Saha. In fact she hasn’t worked more with anyone else. She recalls him to be a very serious and talented man and he knew how to get things done by others.  Most of his compositions were simple and so were well received by the cine goers. He has composed hundreds of popular film songs.,

In 1966,Syed Abdul Hadi emerged as another playback singer.His first song was a duet with Ferdausi in the film Dakbabu.

Shubhash Dutta came up with Aayna O Oboshishto in 1967. Ferdausi’s song “Jaar Chhaya Poreche” became impeccably popular because of unparalleled music and tune. This number is still very popular and there have been numerous remakes.

That very same year, Ferdausi got herself associated with yet another first time. This time the film was Ehtesham’s Chokori, and it was the first film of the popular pair Nadim and Shabana.’Kahan ho tum ko dhund rahe hain” the popular duet of Ferdausi and Nazir Beg , became Nadim , the hero of the film too.Anther song from this film Sung by Ferdausi, “ Woh mere samne tasweer bane baithe hain” wsa also a greta hit.

Nawab Sirajuddowla was released in 1967 directed by Khan Ataur Rahman, who also did the music. Ferdausi sang “Pothohara pakhi”. It was the first film in Bangladesh where a Nazrul song was used.

Ferdausi playbacked the ever popular song “gaan hoye ele mone jano bole” with Kobori’s lipsing in the super duper hit 1969 film Neel Akasher Nichey. It was directed by Narayan Ghosh Mita. Satya Saha did the music while Dr Mohammad Moniruzzaman penned the songs.

Kazi Zaheer directed the film Modhu Milon in 1970. Bashir Ahmed composed the soulful melody “katha bolo na bolo ogo bondhu, chhaya hoye tobu pashe roibo”. Ferdausi recalls that it took her two days to record the song and to be the only one in her life that took that much time.

Ferdausi got the best playback singer award from the Bangladesh Film Journalists Association in 1976 for playbcking in Amzad Hossain’s Nayan Moni for which Satya Saha composed songs.

The 1976 Harun-or-Rashid film Megher Onek Rong was really an off the track one. Ferdausi once again directed music for this film after a long recess. Nevertheless, she got the national film award for the best music director. It  was like a veni vidi vici. She did not do music directions because she was busy with her studies and her family. She could only manage time for playback singing. It was a really challenging task doing music for this film because there wasn’t any song – only background score – the tradition then was to copy or pick up background scores from other films or from foreign films. None cared much about doing original score. Ferdausi, however, wanted to do original staff and she was duly rewarded.

Ferdausi came back as a music maker with the film Nolok in 1978. The film was directed by Shibli Sadiq. She created some wonderful tunes that had on them the raw aroma of the soil. It had to be done so because the film was based in North Bengal. One of the songs “oki gaadiyal bhai” originally sung by Abbasuddin, gained legendary popularity. Ferdausi also remade and resang the song ” O mor baniya abondhure “

She sang numerous songs composed by Altaf Mahmud which became very popular.

It is almost impossible to bring under one single heading all the titbits of a career that stretches for almost half a decade and over 250 films. Since 1959 and still going strong, the undaunted voice of Bangla songs, Ferdausi Rahman wishes to carry on with her association with films as long as she lives.