When the Mercury Rises In the City

Source: The Times of India December 1999

Submitted by: Richard Orchard

This bawa boy put Mumbai on the world map of music. Freddie Mercury was one of the few in the city who acheived international recognition and Mumbaiites could never get over the fact that it was one of their own up there. The music he loved as a child was mostly Indian, though it included some Western influence. He was a member of the school choir and took part in school theatrical productions.

Freddie, a buck-toothed, skinny and nice sort of lad, spent his boyhood years at Dadar's Parsee colony. At St George's, his "English-type'' school at Panchgani, Parsee tradition took its first blow when Faroukh Bulsara, his given name, was changed to Freddie Bulsara.

Even though Freddie died of AIDS on November 24, 1991, his magic still lives on. And the British Council and Mercury Phoenix Trust, in association with Planet M, has planned a Freddie Mercury Photographic Exhibition from October 18-28. Freddie's fans can now embark on a visual journey through the legend's life. The journey begins with his black and white and sepia childhood pictures taken in the late 40s- there's one showing a cute, teeny-weeny Freddie, in his mother, Jer Bulsara's, arms- and some portraying his early life in Zanzibar. Then you gradually go down memory lane with Freddie in his growing years achieving fame in the world of music.

In 1964, Freddie's family moved to England, where he enrolled in the Ealing College of Art to study graphic illustration. He changed his last name to Mercury - the messenger of the gods - and Queen was formed. The king had arrived and the group delivered all-time great hits like Radio Ga Ga, I Want To Break Free, Bohemian Rhapsody, Mr Bad Guy, Barcelona, Flash Gordon..., etc.

Freddie's story now continues with the Mercury Phoenix Trust which is committed to fighting AIDS worldwide. Freddie Mercury may not be alive today, but he lives on through his battle against the dreaded disease.