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
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
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
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
The DoRo-film was released last September on DVD.