Story of Coventry Councillor Set for Bollywood

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Was Appointed as Coventry’s First Asian Councillor

The journey of Raj Malhotra, prior to his political career may be adapted to the big screen by Bollywood.

 

Malhotra, who recently died on Friday September 5th, was appointed as Coventry’s first Asian councillor over 25 years ago. Prior to this he undertook an extraordinary cycling journey with a companion around the world before settling in Coventry.

This “friendship tour” began in their village of Punjab in February 1974.

 

Armed with two bikes and only £3 in cash, the future councillor and his friend Anup Bhalla began their expedition through Afghanistan, Iran, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, Turkey, Germany, France, Belgium, England and Canada.

 

Making international news at the time they were greeted by cheers at every destination, Malhotra however was particularly taken by Coventry.

 

He eventually settled in the city and raised his family, afterwards becoming the first Asian councillor in a city with a 98% white population.

 

In a 2004 interview Malhotra claimed “We had a good reception everywhere but in Coventry it was a bit extraordinary – we made many friends in Coventry.

 

 “I never ever thought to move from here anywhere else. I found Coventry to be the best place and I think I’ll never move from here.”

Malhotra represented Lower Stoke for the Labour Party between 1987 and 1992, thereafter becoming vice-chairman of the Environmental Services Committee. He then worked as an electrical engineer at JS Chinn Ltd in Exhall until his retirement in 2001.

Additionally he operated as a member of the UK branch of India’s Aam Aadmi Party.

 

Comments online from the public voice support for a film portrayal of the late councillor’s life.

 

One user writes “Yes, a Bollywood movie should be made on this! It’s so much loving”

 

Another states “I agree a film should be made on the whole experience of Mr Raj Malhotra’s journey.”

 

Malhotra tragically passed away after an accident in his home where he fell from a ladder. He suffered fatal head injuries.

 

Councillor John McNicholas says “It was a privilege to work with him. He was the first Asian councillor. This chamber wasn’t representative of the city of Coventry and Raj changed that to what we have today.”

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