Early days
Her family full name is Farida Akhter. She was born to an educated family that had its origins in the west-Bangladeshi district of Jessore, Bangladesh. Her family nickname was Poppy, and like her mother, she had early ambitions of becoming a doctor. Instead, she was to become the most accomplished actress among three sisters, all of whom became movie stars. She also has three brothers whom are not in the movie business.
In the mid-1960s, her elder sister Kohinoor Akhter entered the movie industry in the capital Dhaka, and adopted the screen name Shuchonda. In 1968, Shuchonda married Zahir Raihan, a talented film director and martyred intellectual who was later to lose his life in an ambush by West Pakistan forces during the Bangladeshi war of independence. Raihan was casting around for a heroine for his movie Jaltey Suraj Ka Nichey, when his producer Afzal Chowdhury mentioned that his sister-in-law might fit the bill . Poppy was photogenic and had already acted in television. Zahir Raihan agreed to cast her, and although the film was not completed in the end, she found an entry into the Dhaka film industry. Her first released feature was Shesh Porjonto. To add, the recent famous Bangladeshi actor Riaz is her first cousin.