Post on: December 27, 2018
The cinema at KLCC Suria was stomping with “We Will We Will Rock You’… not literally though. I was on a recent trip to Kuala Lumpur and what better way to watch the much-talked-about movie — at the Petronas Tower, capturing the spires of the twin-tower and feeling on top of the world!
Bohemian Rhapsody is entitled after Queen’s famous song which needs no introduction. The biopic centres around the band’s frontman — Freddie Mercury, rightfully deemed one of the greatest singers of all time.
The film delves on the meteoric rise of Queen through its ground-breaking music. They had the knack of engaging the audience on a passionate and primal level… foot stomping and clapping — synchronising with the music like never seen before.
Rami Malek gave a riveting performance as Freddie Mercury – his transformation to the virtuoso showman garnered positive reviews.
Freddie hailed from a Parsi family with roots in India. He was given the name Farrokh Bulsara at birth. He spent his early years living with his parents. His dad, a down-to-earth gentleman, schooled him with the Zoroastrianism adage, “Good thoughts, good words, good deeds”. (However, in line with his persona, he subsequently changed both his ethnic name and the band’s)
Freddie’s musical journey began when he met Brain May and Roger Taylor at a London bar. As luck has it, the duo was searching for a lead singer for their band, “Smile”. Freddie gave a rendition and nailed it with his vocal talents. And with the subsequent inclusion of John Deacon as the bassist, “Queen” was born.
During this initial period, Freddie met the “love of his life” Mary Austin whom he professed his love for, bolstered by the presentation of a ring. They lived together but separated when Freddie admitted his sexual orientation and living a ‘life in the fast lane’. Being non-judgemental, she kept a distance but a watchful eye over him. They remained best of friends till the very end.
With his mind-blowing vocal cords and stage persona, Queen gained traction in London and soon started attracting major record companies. They produced albums which were making waves, resonating with the music culture of the day.
But not all was rosy — they had to part ways with their record company when no compromise could be reached vis-a-vis the hit “Bohemian Rhapsody” as the lead single in the album “A Night at the Opera”. They were vindicated when the song became a smash hit, precipitating their world tour.
To the consternation of the rest, Freddie embarked on a solo arrangement when he signed a deal with CBS Records. Hence parting ways to Munich where he engaged in solo work and a licentious lifestyle with his partner who managed his day to day affairs.
Before things got bad to worse, Mary tracked him and enlightened him about his partner’s deceitful ways in concealing him both from his loved ones and the invitation to perform at Live Aid. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Freddie cut ties with his partner and made up with the band members — they were given a last-minute slot to perform at Wembley Stadium!
The highlight of the movie was the performance at Live Aid. Freddie’s timeless artistry remains forever etched in every in every true-blue rock fan! It was a performance oftentimes acclaimed as the greatest live concert of all time.
Queen stood out because they involved the audience in their performance. Queen’s presence on stage bespeaks their bond towards the masses – erasing the boundary that lies therein. The audience adored Queen; they claimed ownership to Queen’s songs. A sense of affinity was manifested as the crowd chanted, “We are the Champion”.
By Shaji Thomas Varughese
#JollyGoodTimes #BohemianRhapsody #ShajiThomasVarughese
Photo 1: pixabay.com; Photo 2: George/ JollyGoodTimes
P.s. It was an awesome movie that I enjoyed tremendously especially the Live Aid scene which featured my favourite “Radio Ga Ga”.