Movies & Entertainment

Oscar Nomination: Bohemian Rhapsody Portrays Legendary Singer Freddie Mercury

BP World Bureau | Jan 25 2019 09:45:00 AM
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The world of music lovers were in shock when the legendary singer Freddie Mercury died of AIDS at the age of 45 in 1991. One of the early celebrity victims of the dreaded disease starting with Rock Hudson in the ‘80s, Freddie caught attention in our country thanks mainly to his Indian roots.  

Freddie was born Farrokh Balsara in Zanzibar in 1946 to Parsi parents from India. The family moved to England while he was a teenager. Bohemian Rhapsody is a 2018 movie directed by Bryan Singer, intended as a biopic of the artist with emphasis on his music.

Mercury was the lead singer of Queen, a band that he founded in 1970 with guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor. Bassist John Deacon joined them a year later.

The movie Bohemian Rhapsody takes its name after their popular song, lasting six minutes and what many connoisseurs consider as the greatest song of all time.  The fast-paced movie has Egyptian-origin actor Rami Malek playing Freddie Mercury.

It opens in 1970 when Freddie is still an aspirant singer frequenting clubs. He gets his break in one of them when a lead singer in a band quits. From there the film traverses fifteen eventful years of his life.  

Freddie was a revolting teenager yearning independence as his respectable parents learnt while futilely advising him to conform. He was determined to live life on his own terms, even being open about his bisexual orientation.

The movie brings out Freddie’s on and off relationship with girlfriend Mary Austin (played by Lucy Boynton) and his troubled affair with his manager Paul Prenter (played by Allen Leech).

We also learn that Freddie made a virtue of his buck teeth that apparently added range to his singing. The film shows EMI executive Ray Foster opposing and walking out on the song Bohemian Rhapsody before it sees the light of the day. For him it was preposterous to conceive of a number that combined disparate genres like rock, heavy metal, gospel and disco.

Freddie wrote many of his songs. What makes the movie a treat for Queen fans is the assortment of their greatest hits, shown with sing-along lyrics on screen. Freddie’s coquettishness is on display.

The crowning glory of the band is also the pivotal moment of the movie - the Live Aid concert in Wembley, England in 1985 where they perform their greatest numbers like Bohemian Rhapsody, Radio Ga Ga, Hammer to Fall and We Are The Champions.

There is an unmistakable premonition of death in the lines of Bohemian Rhapsody like ‘If I am not here tomorrow, carry on carry on…... as if nothing really matters…….Too late, my time has come…Goodbye everybody I've got to go. Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth.’

Malek has essayed a restrained performance as the flamboyant singer. The movie however does not practically touch on his illness.  

Bohemian Rhapsody has won Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Film Editing.