Trace Freddie Mercury's India links as biopic makes waves at Oscars


“Thank you to Freddie Mercury for giving me the joy of a lifetime. I love you, you beautiful man. This is for – and because of – you, gorgeous,” said actor Rami Malek dedicating his Golden Globes win for his part in the movie Bohemian Rhapsody.

Rami Malek won the Oscar for best actor at the 91st Academy Awards for his role as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. Malek defeated a strong field, including Christian Bale as Dick Cheney in Vice and Bradley Cooper as musician Jack Maine in A Star Is Born. Apart from Best Actor, the film won big at Oscars 2019 with four awards including Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing. However, not many know that the film is based on the famous band 'Queen' and its singer Freddie Mercury. Today, as you wind up the awardees list, we take you through the life of Freddie Mercury.

Early days

Freddie belonged to the Parsi community, which traces its settlement in India around the 7th century. He was born in Stone Town in Zanzibar, Africa, in September 1946, to Indian immigrants and was named Farrokh Bulsara.

Bulsar in Gujarat is believed to be the hometown of Farrokh's grandparents. The town probably lent them their surname.


When he was eight Freddie was sent to St Peter's School in Panchgani, near his parents' home city of Bombay. He honed his piano skills by playing Indian tunes, then joined his first band, called The Hectics. The Bulsaras fled to London in 1964 and settled in Feltham, swapping a life of servants for a semi-detatched home in the suburbs.

Mercury got a diploma in Art and Graphic Design in England, sold second-hand clothes at the Kensington Market and held a job at the Heathrow Airport while learning to play the guitar. Later he’d join a series of bands (with names like Wreckage and Sour Milk Sea) before joining guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor, and turning their band 'Smile' into Queen.

Freddie formed 'Queen' with Brian May, Roger Taylor and John and the band's first major concert was as a support act to Mott the Hoople, an English rock band, at Hammersmith Odeon in London in 1973.


Mercury's friend Subhash Gudka, who studied at St Peter’s School in Maharashtra, recalled about him in a recent interview with a daily. “I remember that he didn’t want to leave India.

When they got famous, I recognised him immediately. I’d like to think that his time in school had given him the independence and confidence he displayed,” Gudka noted.

The real star

Interestingly, Freddie, had an asteroid named after him for his contribution. Queen guitarist and astrophysicist Brian May introduced asteroid Freddie Mercury 17473 to the world, on the occasion of Mercury’s 70th birthday recently.


Freddie was ranked at 18 on the 2008 Rolling Stone list of the 100 greatest singers ever. He was described by AllMusic as "one of rock's greatest all-time entertainers," with "one of the greatest voices in all of music."

Upon its release in November 2018, the biographical film about Mercury and Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody, became the highest-grossing musical biographical film of all time.

Freddie died in England in November 1991.

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