Vikas Khaladkar was in the fourth grade when he looked up to a charismatic eighth-grader named Farrokh Bulsara, better known around campus as Freddie.
They were schoolmates at St. Peter's Boys School in Western India.
More than 50 years later, Khaladkar – a justice of the Supreme Court in St. John's – sat in a movie theater and watched Bohemian Rhapsody, the cinematic portrayal of his old friend, Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury.
"I thought it was very good," said Khaladkar. "I think the actress [Rami Malek], He got right into it. I thought it was a pretty decent portrayal of Freddie Mercury. "
Defining characteristics were right on
While the film took liberties with many parts of Mercury's life story, there was one aspect that made Khaladkar think back to the boy he knew from school.
"You could not miss his teeth, right?" he laughed. "He had this buck teeth that made him truly unique.As he grew up, I suppose he grew into them a little bit But they were bigger when he was small.But it was a distinguishing characteristic for sure. "
You sort of look at it and remark to yourself how many paths we've all taken.– Vikas Khaladkar
Khaladkar remembers the Queen singer for his musicality and his willingness to share it. He lived on the second floor of the dormitory, overlooking the street. Khaladkar said Mercury would serenade girls as they pass by.
"He would sing to them there and they loved it," he said. "Freddie used to do that a lot."
The movie focuses heavily on Mercury's relationship with his wife, Mary, through his rise to stardom and eventually coming out as gay in private.
Different paths from St. Peter's
It also touches on his heritage – he was born in Zanzibar, which later amalgamated with Khaladkar's home region of Tanganyika, now known as Tanzania. They were two boys from the same region, thousands of kilometers from home.
Most of his memories about Mercury come from the same teacher teacher for a year.
"She used to get a fresh switch for every day's lessons and if you made mistakes when you were doing your piano, she'd hit you on the knuckles with a stick," he said. "Maybe Freddie had more facility than I did."
Mercury played in a band during his time, alongside Victory Rana, a Tibetan royal who later became the commander in charge of the United Nations peacekeeping efforts in Cyprus in 1999.
While watching Bohemian Rhapsody, Khaladkar was struck by the different routes Peter's.
"We're just looking at it and remark to yourself, it's being in charge of the forces at Cyprus or ending up here in Newfoundland. . "
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