Staff and students at Bradford College have been deeply saddened to learn of the sudden death of Rajen Kothari, the internationally acclaimed cinematographer, writer, director and passionate educationalist. Rajen founded Whistling Woods International, Asia’s largest film, television, animation and media arts institute in Mumbai, with whom an innovative partnership has created new learning and career development opportunities for students from both institutions, allowing Bradford College students the opportunity to study in India and students from Mumbai to study here in Bradford.
Rajen was still practising his craft to the highest standards, with his latest film, Das Capital, winning the best film award at the Dainik Jagran Film Festival in New Dehli in the week following his death. Rajen made an enormous impression on our photography students when he addressed them on a visit to Bradford in November 2010. His special qualities and international reputation are apparent in his discussion about photography:
Rajen Kothari in Conversation with Trevor Griffiths
Trevor Griffiths, Head of Photography and Associate Director of Innovation reflected “I was greatly saddened to hear the news that Rajen had passed away. I rejoice in the time I spent with him and I am so grateful that our time together was based on quality rather than quantity. I knew him for a relatively short time but he left an indelible mark on me. Whilst we may no longer have the opportunity to know Rajen in a physical sense, he will never leave me. My life has become so much better for knowing him. Many good things have been born out of my relationship with him but probably the strongest of these was ensuring what we have started is now seen through. His work in setting up Whistling Woods International means that the ongoing relationship between our two organisations and the new developments we had planned to benefit students and staff, will be a great comfort. The passing of Rajen is the catalyst that only strengthens my resolve to ensure the success of what will become his legacy.”
Kath Oldale, Bradford College’s Vice Principal for Curriculum and Quality was also stunned by the news and said, “I visited Whistling Woods only a few months ago and spent time with Rajen discussing our collaboration and looking at our exciting new project. It was a privilege to know him and I believe that what we will be putting in place will be a fitting tribute to his memory. I extend my deepest sympathies to colleagues and students at WWI in their great loss.”