Farida Jalal started her career in the sixties, when she won the United Film Producers Talent Hunt sponsored by Filmfare: she usually played the sister or rejected fiancée of the male lead but almost never the female lead. One of her most critically acclaimed roles is in Bobby where she played the part of the mentally challenged would-be fiancée of Rishi Kapoor's Raj. During the eighties, her roles progressed from sister and girlfriend to aunt and mother, or, sometimes nanny. She is also remembered for her part in 'Aradhana' where she plays Rajesh Khanna's girlfriend and the song 'Bhagon me bahar hai, kaliyon pe nikhar hai' She acted for over forty years, only taking a break during 1983 and 1990, when she settled in Bangalore.
During the nineties, Jalal had a part in almost every major hit, among them Raja Hindustani, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Dil To Pagal Hai, Kya Kehna, Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge for which she won a Filmfare Award as Best Supporting Actress. She also acted in many Television serials, such as, in the hit sitcom, Dekh Bahi Dekh.
She also was grandly acclaimed for her role in the 1994 film Mammo, for which she received the Filmfare Best Performance Award.
Also, she stars in Shararat (Thoda Sa Jadu, Thodi Si Nazaakat) in which she plays a leading role. The comedy is currently air on Disney channel.
In 2005, she co-hosted the 50th Filmfare Awards alongside Saif Ali Khan and Sonali Bendre, in Mumbai.
She is always a bubbly and gregarious character, even when playing the role of a mother or an old woman, such as the mentioned Shyam Benegal's Mammo.
She recently made a special appearance in the Punjabi film Yaariyan.
Jalal was married to actor Tabrez Barmavar who died in September 2003 and has a son named Yaseen. Tabrez belonged to a small place called Bhatkal.