Real name Parveen, Firdous was introduced by Nakshab in Fanoos (1963) as a supporting actress, while the main leads were played by Komal and Salam Peerzada. The film was about a haunted Haveli, where a dancer is seen performing her classical dances, and making occasional appearances at the old gate of the palatial home of Nawab, who had died long ago. However, the film flopped due to some vital technical flaws in the film.
When Firdous started her career, she didn’t enjoy immediate success and most of her earlier films flopped including Khandaan, Malang, Lai Laag and Aurat. With the success of the Punjabi film Malangi in 1965, she was finally accepted by the audiences. One of the songs from this film “Mahi vay sanoun bhul na javein” sung by Noor Jehan and picturized on Firdous was one of the main reasons for the success of this film. The acceptance turned into adulation as her pairing with the Punjabi superstar Akmal clicked in a huge way and two started scoring one jubilee hit after another (Akbara, Chacha Jee etc). When Firdous danced those energetic thumka filled numbers with her hair let loose dervish style, the public was mesmerized by her charm. Soon Akmal and Firdous were having a torrid love affair (many people insist that they had married). Akmal died suddenly in 1967, and insiders in the industry claim that there was more to his death than just death by overdose or liver failure. Insiders claim that it was Firdous’ disgruntled brothers who were responsible for poisoning Akmal – a star who is still talked about as King of the 60’s.
Despite the loss of Akmal, Firdous soldiered on relentlessly and featured in many hit films with the top Punjabi actors of that time including Habib, Sudhir, Yusuf Khan and the man who would eventually play a major part in her life – Ejaz Durrani. Producer Masood Parvez bought Firdous and Ejaz together for the folk tale of Mirza Jat in 1967 which became a raging success. Then he followed up with the same Firdous – Ejaz combination for the similar Murad Baloch and other producers quickly began to cash in on the hottest pair in Lollywood with films like Jawani Mastani, Dilan De Sauday, Sheran Dee Jorri, Hameeda, Yaar te Pyaar, Ishq na Poochay Zaat all following in rapid succession. Then Masood Parvez hit the jackpot in 1970 casting the two for the legend of Heer Ranjha. The film, its songs and its stars became a rage and is still considered to be among the finest films ever to have come out of Lollywood and certainly the best ever Punjabi film.
However, by then Ejaz and Firdous were involved with each other romantically and Noor Jehan refused to sing songs for any film featuring Firdous. Because of this, Firdous’ career started to go downhill and one by one producers stopped signing Firdous for their upcoming projects and work began to dry up completely for the once super-busy actress. Noor Jehan refusal to sing songs for her affected her career to such an extent that Firdous was forced to play character role in Urdu film Aansoo (1971) during the height of her career!
Based on Riaz Arshad’s novel “Andhi Jawani”, Aansoo was one of the best films made during the early period of colored Lollywood films. The film dealt with the sensitive issue of rape and its after effects. In Ansoo, Firdous played Shahid’s mother and reminded her adoring fans of her ability as a performer. She was quiet stunning, even if in the unfamiliar role of a mother.
However, even the success of Ansoo couldn’t save her career and that coupled with the arrival of new Punjabi heroines including Mumtaz, Aasiya and Anjuman plus her scandal with Shahid hit the final nail in her coffin. Firdous left film industry in 1976 and joined it again after 8 years in 1984 as an unsuccessful character actress in films including Yeh kaisey hua (1984), Hitler (1986) etc. Nowadays, Firdous lives a retired life in Lahore.