Freddie Mercury


An Introduction by director Rudi Dolezal

Freddie Mercury 1

My DoRo-Team and I spent five years making this exceptional documentary, gathering the individual bits and pieces together to weave a rich tapestry in months of shooting in Africa (Zanzibar), India (Bombay/Panchgani), New York, Montreux, London, and Munich.

My ambition was to portray Freddie Mercury from an angle unknown to the public.

Most of the film is composed of new or as yet unreleased footage, including recreations of certain aspects of Freddie Mercury’s life. 

Young Freddie Mercury, who was born FARROKH BULSARA, was played by actor Zal Bahardurji from Bombay.  We filmed him in historic locations in Zanzibar where Mercury was born, the son of two federal employees of the British Government.  With the support of his mother Jer Bulsara, sister Kashmira Cooke, and various school friends, we reconstructed the first years of the young boy who later was to become a world star as Freddie Mercury. Research and shooting were quite difficult in Zanzibar, because, to this day, the official Zanzibar / Tanzania government has taken no notice of having being home to this “famous son.”

In Zanzibar, we showed his everyday life close up, such as his daily walk to school, Freddie’s favorite playgrounds, religious rituals, his first photo session as a child and his first contacts with  Arab, African and Indian music that were to prove formative for him later on.

Many of these scenes were shot largely using subjective camera, giving the audience the opportunity to relive Freddie’s experiences first hand.
Our second major stopover was India – for 7 years, Freddie attended  boarding school in the small Indian town of Panchgani. Here we ferreted out Freddie Mercury’s 96-year-old aunt who encouraged his artistic talent: she arranged piano lessons for him that led to Freddie’s first band, a school band named “The Hectics.”  Aside from interviewing teachers, schoolmates and Freddie’s first love Gita Choksi, we helped stage a concert before hundreds of fervent students, in which the “Hectics” performed on precisely the same stage where Freddie Mercury experienced his first moments as a performer more than 40 years ago – this hall has remained unchanged since then.

In London, we tracked down schoolmates of Mercury from the Ealing School of Art where he studied graphic design.  They told us, among other things, of the way he used to indulge himself by going down to the men’s rest rooms and singing harmony vocals in their echoey environment.

We also unearthed sensational new material from this period of his life: a sheaf of original sketches and paintings by young Mercury of his idols and role models at the time, like Jimi Hendrix, Elizabeth Taylor, Cliff Richard and many more, artwork which had been thought lost since his school days.  We found them in the possession of a former classmate and the film presents them to a wide public for the first time.

When it comes to his musical development, we give ample space to the members of Freddie’s band Queen: Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon, members of his earlier bands “IBEX” and “Wreckage” and also later superstar colleagues like Mick Jagger (Rolling Stones), Phil Collins (Genesis), Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin), Roger Daltrey (The Who), Slash (formerly with Guns N’ Roses), Liza Minelli and the opera diva Montserrat Caballé and Andrew Lloyd Weber partner, Sir Tim Rice, who wrote the lyrics for several songs with Freddie.

Freddie’s private life and sexuality are discussed openly by the people who were closest to him and who talked about this for the first time: Freddie’s longterm girlfriend Mary Austin, to whom he left his luxurious home in London; his companion of many years, Jim Hutton who was Freddie’s last lover; and photographer Mick Rock, producer of the famed Freddie images, particularly in the early days.

Our film also features:
Excerpts from a total of 6 hours of unreleased interview footage in which Freddie, who rarely and unwillingly gave interviews, speaks about intimate, personal subjects.

Excerpts from unreleased studio sessions of previously unreleased Freddie Mercury songs.

British reviews praised our film: “Not even Elvis Presley has yet been paid such a high-quality and affectionate tribute with such an intricate sense of detail.”  (Daily Express).  “A fascinating film about The Great Pretender!” (Sunday Express).  “THE homage, THE salute for Freddie Mercury: an event!” (The Guardian)”.

The DoRo-film was released last September on DVD.


Freddie Mercury director
Rudi Dolezal, Director