BIOGRAPHY ON BOBITA
Bangladeshi Film Actress and Producer
(30 July 1953 – Present)
On 30 July 1953, Farida Akhtar Poppy, or commonly known as ‘Bobita’, was born in Bagerhat district of the then East Pakistan, now in Bangladesh. Her father’s name is Nizamuddin Ataub, who was a government service holder and her mother’s name is Jahan Ara Begum, who was a doctor. Bobita belongs to an educated family. She is originally from Jessore but she was born in Bagerhat when her parents were living there due to her father’s job. She has 3 sisters and 3 brothers. Among them, Her eldest sister, Shuchanda, and her younger sister Champa are also famous Bangladeshi film actresses. She spent her childhood in Jessore but later moved to Dhaka for Suchanda’s career. Bobita used to study at Dawood Public School, in Jessore. However, she could not study here as she and her family moved to Dhaka due to her sister Suchanda’s career. Bobita then started studying in Gloria School, Dhaka. From there also she did not finish studying for her involvement in the media industry. She has earned a good proficiency in English, and also in some other foreign languages with her own effort.
Bobita started her career back in 1969. She was only 13 years old when she acted on her very first film, named “Jaltey Suraj Ke Nichey”, directed by her brother-in-law Zahir Raihan. Cinematographer Afzal Chowdhury’s wife suggested her to have the name Bobita. Though the film was shot, it never got completed. Nonetheless, this gave a break-through to Bobita into the Dhaka film industry. Her first released feature was Shesh Porjonto, in 1969. In 1973, Indian film director Satyajit Ray called Bobita to cast her in the lead role in his film called “Ashani Sanket (“Distant Thunder”). The film won the Golden Bear prize at the 1973 Berlin Film Festival. Babita had also acted in a few joint venture film projects. In 2002, Bobita had formed her own film-production company, named “Babita Movies” and released a few movies from there. She is popular for the movies: Golapi Ekhon Trainey, Dipu Number Two, Poka Makorer Ghor Bosoti, Noyon Moni, etc.
In 2011, Bobita started working with Distressed Children & Infants International as the Goodwill Ambassador. She has also supported those against acid attacks on women, childhood immunization campaigns, and a support group for children with leukemia.
Bobita was called as the ‘prize daughter’ as she has received numerous awards, both national and internationally. She won the Bangladesh National Film Awards, for a total of 8 times under different categories like best actress, best side character etc. She has also received the Bangladesh Cine Journalists Association Award (Bachsas Awards) for a total of 6 times. She has earned several other different awards like Jahir Rayhan Padak, Ershad Padak, etc. Even from India, Pakistan and USA, she has received a few Lifetime Achievement Awards from different sources. Because she had worked with Satyajit Roy, she got the privilege to take part in a lot of international film festivals too where she represented Bangladesh and its flag.
Since her mother was a doctor, she also wanted to be a doctor in her childhood. But with the course of time, she has now become one of the renowned actresses of Bangladesh. The day when her very first film “Jalte Suraj Ki Niche” was released, on 14 August 1969, her mother passed away. In marital life, Babita was married to Iftekharul Alam. Together the couple had a son, Anik. Iftekharul died when Anik was only three years old. She did not remarry and she has a beautiful mother-son relationship with her son living in Canada.
Life of "Bobita" At a Glance
Real Name: Farida Akhter Poppy
Birth Date: 30 July 1953
Birth Place: Bagerhat, East Pakistan, now Bangladesh
Father’s Name: Nizamuddin Ataub
Mother’s Name: Jahan Ara Begum
➢ Dawood Public School, Jessore
➢ Gloria School, Dhaka
➢ Film actress
➢ Film producer
➢ Goodwill Ambassador, Distressed Children & Infants International, since 2011
Married to: Iftekharul Alam.
Children: 1 son; Anik
Siblings: 3 sisters, 3 brothers
Awards and Achievements:
➢ Best Actress, Bangladesh National Film Award, in 1975, 1976, 1977, 1985
➢ Best film producer, Bangladesh National Film Award, in 1996
➢ Best side character actress, Bangladesh National Film Award, in 2002, 2011
➢ Lifetime Achievement Award, Bangladesh National Film Award, in 2016
➢ Best Actress, Bangladesh Cine Journalists Association Award (Bachsas Awards), in 1974, 1977, 1980, 1985, 2012
➢ Best side character actress, Bangladesh Cine Journalists Association Award (Bachsas Awards), in 2003
➢Jahir Rayhan Padak, in 1972
➢Ershad Padak, in 1989
➢Special prize, Bangladesh Film Directors Association, in 1993
➢Best Supporting Actress, Bangladesh National Film Award, in 2012
➢ Best Actress, Dhallywood Music & Film Lifetime Achievement Award, in 2002, 2009
➢ Best Actress, Bengal Film Journalists Association Award, India, in 1993
➢ Best Actress, National Film Award of Pakistan, in 1983
➢ Lifetime award, India, in 2018
➢ Lifetime Achievement Award, 17th ‘Tele-Cine Awards’, Kolkata, India
➢ Lifetime Achievement Award, Bengali Film Festival of Dallas, USA, in August 4, 2023
Nickname: Prize Daughter
Farida Akhtar Poppy, commonly known by her stage name ‘Bobita’, was born on 30 July 1953 in Bagerhat which was in the then East Pakistan, presently in Bangladesh. Her main origin is from Jessore but she was born in Bagerhat while her parents were living there due to her father’s job. Her father, Nizamuddin Ataub, was a government service holder and her mother, Jahan Ara Begum, was a doctor. Bobita belongs to an educated family.
She has 3 sisters and 3 brothers as her siblings. Her eldest sister, Shuchanda, is also a famous Bangladeshi film actress. Then her elder brother, Shaheedul Islam, is an Electrical Engineer, who is currently living in Australia, her another brother, Iqbal Islam, is a Pilot officer, her younger sister Champa is also another Bangladeshi film actress, and finally her youngest brother, Ferdous Islam, is living in the USA at the moment.
She spent her early childhood days in Jessore but later came to Dhaka for her elder sister’s involvement in the film industry.
Bobita used to study at Dawood Public School, situated in Jessore. However, she could not study here as she and her family moved to Dhaka due to her sister Suchanda’s career. Bobita then started studying in Gloria School, Dhaka. From there also, she could not finish studying. This time, due to her own involvement with the film industry. Nonetheless, since she had the passion for education, she made herself educated by her own effort, without any formal education. She earned a good proficiency in English, and also in some other foreign languages.
Bobita started her career back in 1969. She was only 13 years old when she acted on her very first film.
Babita’s brother-in-law Zahir Raihan, wanted to cast Bobita as a child actor in a film called Shongshar as he needed a young girl for the film. That was her first film offer. Though initially she refused to act, her family pressured her as it would look bad if she rejected her relative. So she agreed to act there though that film did not do very well. In the film, she acted as the daughter of her own elder sister, Suchanda. Later, Zahir insisted on casting Bobita in a lead role for the film “Jaltey Suraj Ke Nichey”. At that time, she acted in a television drama called “Kalam”. Cinematographer Afzal Chowdhury, who was making the film “Jaltey Suraj Ke Nichey”, found Bobita very photogenic in that television drama. That is why he was eager to take her in the film. After getting the offer for the film, again Bobita refused but again had to agree upon it due to family pressure. Afzal Chowdhury’s wife suggested that Bobita should be given that specific name as there was no one with that name in Bangladesh. Though the film was shot, it never got completed. Nonetheless, this gave a break-through to Bobita into the Dhaka film industry. Her first released feature was Shesh Porjonto, in 1969. Renowned actor Abdur Razzak played the lead alongside her. After the movie got released, it became a massive hit, and thus it kick started her career as an actress.
In 1973, the famous and Oscar winning Indian film director Satyajit Ray called Bobita to cast her in the lead role in his film named “Ashani Sanket (“Distant Thunder”). Before getting this offer, Bobita had done only 2 films in Bangladesh and gained popularity. That is why her acting could grab the attention of Satyajit. Bobita had to go to Kolkata at Satyajit’s house to meet directly with him. The first shooting of the film took place at Shantiniketan. The film won the Golden Bear prize at the 1973 Berlin Film Festival. Bobita was highly praised and appreciated for her role in the film.
Babita had acted in a few joint venture film projects, for instance: a Canada Bollywood-Bangladesh joint production film Durdesh in 1983, and Pakistan-Bangladesh joint venture film Miss Lanka in 1985.
She is famous for films like Golapi Ekhon Trainey (1978), Dahan (1986) , Dipu Number Two (1996) , Badi Theke Begum, Bosundhara, Ramer Sumoti, Poka Makorer Ghor Bosoti, Jonmo Theke Jolchi , Anarkoli, Shorolipi, Manusher Mon, Pich Dhala Path, Noyon Moni, etc.
Bobita was last seen in 2015 in the film “Putro Ekhon Paisawala”. She claims that after that film, she has not liked any film’s story or character, and this is why she is not doing any film. Some sources say that after performing hajj, Bobita has decided to dedicate herself to her religion. She has also said in an interview that she has decided to reduce the number of films as she wants to spend more time with her son who is residing in Canada currently.
In 2002, Bobita had formed her own film-production company, named “Babita Movies”. She got interested in doing so after seeing the success of the film Teen Kannya (1985), which was produced by Bobita’s sister Suchanda.
Some of the films produced by Bobita were: Fulsojja, Agomon, Lottery, Lady Smuggler (a Bangladesh-Pakistan-Nepal joint venture film) and Poka Makorer Ghor Bosoti (a Bangladesh Government sponsored film).
In Bangladesh, Bobita has actively promoted a number of social causes. Among them, she supported those against acid attacks on women, childhood immunization campaigns, and a support group for children with leukemia.
In 2011, Bobita started working with Distressed Children & Infants International as the Goodwill Ambassador. As a part of the job, she and her sisters spend Eid days with underprivileged children at her residence in Gulshan. More than 40 children spend quality time with Bobita by singing songs and doing other fun activities.
Bobita’s life has seen an interesting turn. Since her mother was a doctor, she also wanted to be a doctor in her childhood. She had no interest, eagerness or passion for acting. In fact, she used to find acting very hard after once she saw her sister Suchanda’s shooting. But, destiny had its own plan. Now Bobita is considered one of the prominent actresses of Bangladesh. Just after doing a few films, she rose to fame.
The day when her very first film “Jalte Suraj Ki Niche” was released, on 14 August 1969, her mother passed away. This is such a bitter-sweet memory and experience for her.
From her childhood, Bobita was a helpful person. Her mother, being a doctor, used to give medicines to her neighbors when in need. Bobita used to help her mother by memorizing all the names of the medicines, so that when her mother was not around, she could give them to people.
However, she was also a naughty girl at that time. She would charge a small medical fee before giving out the medicines. With the money she earned, she used to go and watch movies with her friends at the cinema halls.
One funny incident and memory Bobita shared about working with Satyajit Roy is that before going to his house, after getting the offer for his film, she used all the makeup that she owned so that she could look as glamorous as possible. But, after going to his house, sitting in his living room, seeing Bobita all dolled up, he asked why she had put on so much makeup. He honestly confessed that he did not want to see her that way. Hearing that, Bobita felt extremely bad that she could not further look him properly in the eye the whole time.
Bobita’s family and relatives are also involved with the Bangladeshi media industry. The famous actor Omar Sunny is her nephew, the superhit actress Moushumi is her niece-in-law, the renowned director Zahir Raihan was her brother-in-law and the superhit actor Riaz is her cousin.
There was a rumor that Bobita and another famous actor, Zafar Iqbal had something cooking up between them. All the romantic films that they did together, they were all loved by the audiences. People used to always call them a really great couple. But, they were great friends. They shared many sweet and good memories together. They had done many fun activities together. Now that Zafar is gone, Bobita misses a good friend like him.
In marital life, Babita was married to Iftekharul Alam. Together the couple had a son, Anik. Iftekharul died when Anik was only three years old. As she was young at that time, her family suggested that she should remarry. But she chose to remain as a single mother. She gave more time and love to her son by reducing the number of films. She always ensured that her son received proper education. Now her son has been staying in Canada studying and working for a few years. He is giving her back all the love that he had received from his mother in childhood. The mother-son duo has a very good bond. He can understand the depth of the adversities that his mother had to overcome in hers. On Bobita’s birthday, every year, she visits her son in Canada where he surprises her with lots of gifts like flowers, perfumes and makeup as she loves them, drives and takes her to different places in Canada. She thinks the biggest gift that she receives from her son is that he spends her special day entirely with her.
She has a plan to write an autobiography some day. She thinks that as she has so many memories and numerous experiences, she should share her life story with everyone before the day comes when she bids farewell to the world.
Awards and Achievements
Bobita was called as the ‘prize daughter’ as she has received numerous awards, both national and international, in her life for more than 40 years. She has also gotten many achievements too.
In her entire career life, she won the Bangladesh National Film Awards, for a total of 8 times. It is considered to be the most prominent film award ceremony in Bangladesh. Under the category of “Best Actress”, she won the award 4 times; first 3 in 3 consecutive years: in 1975, 1976, and 1977 and later in 1985. Under the category of “Best side character actress”, she got the award twice; in 2002 and 2011. Under the category of “Best film producer”, she won it once; in 1996. Finally, Under the category of “Lifetime Achievement Award”, she received the award in 2016.
She has also received the Bangladesh Cine Journalists Association Award (Bachsas Awards) for a total of 6 times. Once, the Bachsas award was considered as a huge prestigious honor to the artists of the film industry in Bangladesh. This award is given to the outstanding performers in film, television, music, dance and theater. Bobita won this award 5 times under the category of “Best Actress”, in 1974, 1977, 1980, 1985, and 2012. She has also won this award Under the category of “Best side character actress” in 2003.
She has won the Dhallywood Music & Film Lifetime Achievement Award twice. This award is given for the excellence in cinematic achievements for Bangladeshi Films, and music. Under the category of “Best Actress”, won the award 2002 and 2009.
Bobita has received the Special prize award from the Bangladesh Film Directors Association in 1993. She was awarded with the Jahir Rayhan Padak in 1972 and Ershad Padak in 1989.
Globally, she has received many awards too. She received the National Film Award of Pakistan under the category of “Best Actress”, in 1983. From India, she earned a few awards. She got the Bengal Film Journalists Association Award under the category of “Best Actress”, in 1993. She was honored with a “Lifetime Award” in 2018. Finally, she received the “Lifetime Achievement Award” at the 17th edition of ‘Tele-Cine Awards’ which was held in Kolkata. Bobita also received the BFJ, Prasar Bharati, India’s state-owned public broadcaster, and other awards from India. Recently, on 4 August, 2023, Bobita was honored with the “Lifetime Achievement Award” by the Mayor of Dallas, Texas, USA, for her outstanding contribution in the film industry. This award was given at the Bengali Film Festival of Dallas.
Because she had worked with Satyajit Roy, she got the privilege to take part in a lot of international film festivals. She represented Bangladesh everywhere. In the Moscow Film Festival, she even got the honor of hoisting the green-red Bangladeshi flag up, during the opening and closing ceremonies. They also put up huge posters of her at a cinema hall and at the airport while receiving her for the festival. She was embraced with lots of adoration.
We are lucky and proud to have Bobita, who has taken the image of Bangladesh into a higher level through her acting. She also inspires all the single parents out there. Many mothers get motivated to form a good relationship with their children.