Bohemian rhapsody

Enroute return to Mumbai from Johannesburg, I managed to catch up two movies in the two legs of the flight. Watched Padmavat during Johannesburg-Seychelles sector and liked it mainly for Ranveer Singh’s madcap act as Allauddin Khilji and Bohemian Rhapsody, a Hollywood blockbuster, celebrating the music of iconic band Queen, on the Seychelles- Mumbai sector.

The movie, while celebrating Queen’s music and the group’s much loved iconic songs, also throws light on the life of Queen’s frontman and lead singer, Freddie Mercury. Freddie, born Farrouk Balsara to Indian Parsi parents in Zanzibar, became a British citizen after his parents fled Zanzibar and took asylum in England. Starting with his Queen mates as a band performing in night clubs, the movie unfolds the journey traversed by Queen and Freddie, till the untimely death of Freddie in 1991 at a rather tender age of 45 due to AIDS related complications.

The idea of writing this blog is not to highlight the life and achievements of the Band or its lead singer, but to impress my readers with certain high points and learning from the movie and Freddie. For once success goes to his head and he decides to go solo. But that also makes him forlorn and lonely. He excessively indulges in smoking and drinking till he coughs up blood and is diagnosed with AIDS related complications. His return to Queen mates just in time for 1985 Live Concert to help African cause where the bigger icons like David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Paul McCartney etc also perform and where Queen totally outshines the more fancied rivals in front of some 72000 live and more than 1.9 billion TV audience across 150 nations is the stuff folklores are made of. As he reveals to his band mates before the show that their performance would punch a hole through the roof of the stadium! When one of the mates tells Freddie that Wembley stadium has no roof, he says then their performance would punch a hole in the sky! And the performance by Queen led by mercurial Freddie actually does that with audience going berserk! This captures the spirit of a great achiever, who in spite of knowing his condition and limited lifespan, gives the finest lifetime performance, in the process becoming an icon. It’s this attitude that separates a successful person from an icon or a legend.

Needless to mention that Rami Malek’s once in lifetime performance as iconic Freddie Mercury wins him an academy award for best actor, with the movie itself winning 4 oscars including Rami’s best actor effort, as aforesaid.

If we all decide to punch a hole the roof of the stadium or punch a hole in the sky in whichever fields we perform in, many of us shall become icons and legends and not merely successful. Another recent case of literally creating a hole in the sky is Wing Commander Abhinandan! We should salute such dedication such passion!

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