An ecstatic Rami Malik paid homage to Freddie Mercury – born Farrukh Bulsara –as he accepted his award for the ‘Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama’ for “Bohemian Rhapsody” at the 2019 Golden Globe Awards Jan. 6.
At the 76th edition of the awards, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” a film about the legendary British rock band Queen and its lead singer Freddie Mercury, was also named the ‘Best Motion Picture – Drama.”
In his speech, Malek, who played Queen’s revered front man in the blockbuster biopic, paid a glowing tribute to him and heaped praise on the band Queen.
“I’m beyond moved,” Malek exclaimed onstage. “My heart is pounding out of my chest right now. It is a profound honor to receive this…Thank you to Brian May (Queen’s guitarist), Roger Taylor (drummer) for ensuring that authenticity and inclusivity exists in the music and in the world and in all of us.”
Eulogizing Mercury, who died in 1991 at the age of 45, Malek said: “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.”
It’s been over 25 years since the death of Mercury, yet his music lives on. According to the makers of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Mercury redefined and transcended stereotypes, just as Queen’s music refuses to be slotted into any traditional genre. Perhaps that’s why the band is such a cross-generational, multicultural and global phenomenon.
Producer Graham King accepted the ‘Best Drama’ award on behalf of the film’s cast and crew. “The power of movies is that it brings us all together. Freddie Mercury and Queen did that so successfully through their music, and that’s what we always want to accomplish in the cinemas,” he said.
Taking the opportunity to thank Mercury, King, too, dedicated the award to him.
“To Freddie Mercury,” King said onstage. “Thank you for showing us the power of embracing your true self — this one’s for you.”
The son of Bomi and Jer Bulsara, who were followers of the Zoroastrian religion, Mercury was born in Zanzibar.
He spent the bulk of his childhood in India where he attended St. Peter’s boarding school in Panchgani in Maharashtra. The Bulsara family moved to Middlesex, England in 1964.
Reminiscing about his time spent with Mercury, one of the late singer’s cousins, Rashid Lilaoowala, told India-West that even though Mercury exhibited elements of creativity as a child, he came into his own once he moved to England.
“The film only deals with Freddie Mercury after he became Freddie Mercury,” Lilaoowala told India-West. “I knew him all his life when he was Farrukh Bulsara before he went to England…he used to live with my aunt (my father’s sister) in Dadar Parsi Colony. Her husband was Freddie’s first cousin so that is why he was sent there. We used to spend our summer vacations together in Bulsar, now called Valsad, in Gujarat.”
No one in the family at the time, said Lilaoowala, could visualize him being on top of music charts one day.
“He was a very quiet and shy guy,” Lilaoowala told India-West. “He mostly kept to himself, had musical talent but was a wonderful human being. He was a great pianist, he had a good voice and one in a while, at family get togethers, he would burst out into some rock songs. After finishing high school, he went to England, because there was a turmoil in Zanzibar and a lot of Indians left the area.”
Lilaoowala also shared with India-West that Mercury was very close to his parents and sister, Kashmira, and that Queen was a very tight-knit band.
“Even after Freddie passed away, his bandmembers kept visiting his mum and dad, including Brian May,” he said. “They were very fond of them.”
“Bohemian Rhapsody” is currently on its way to making close to $200 million at the domestic box office, and sits at $743 million worldwide, according to Deadline.