Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial government on Tuesday approved the purchase of the ancestral homes of legendary Indian Bollywood actors Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor in Peshawar for converting them into museums. Peshawar District Commissioner Capt. (retd.) Khalid Mehmud rejected the objections of the owners of both the houses and announced the award and transferred the ownership of both the houses to the Archaeological Department.
The land (homes of Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor) will vest in the name of acquiring Department i.e. Director Archaeology and Museums, a notification issued by the Deputy Commissioner’s office said. The KP government had fixed the price for purchase of Kapoor’s 6.25-marla and Kumar’s four-marla houses for Rs 1.50 crore and Rs 80 lakh, respectively, with plans to convert them into museums. Marla, a traditional unit of area used in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, is considered equal to 272.25 square feet or 25.2929 square metres.
While Kapoor Haveli’s owner Ali Qadir demanded Rs 20 crore, the owner of Kumar’s ancestral house Gul Rehman Mohmand said the government should purchase it at the market rate of Rs 3.50 crore. The provincial government last month handed over Rs 2.30 crore to Peshawar’s Deputy Commissioner for purchasing the two houses located in the heart of this city to convert them into museums.
In May, Director Archaeology KPK Abdus Samad had said the government would take custody of both the houses shortly and would start work to restore the structures in its original shape. The government would preserve both the buildings to make the people aware about the contribution made by Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor in the film industry, he said.
Raj Kapoor’s ancestral home, known as Kapoor Haveli, is situated in the fabled Qissa Khwani Bazar. It was built between 1918 and 1922 by the legendary actor’s grandfather Dewan Basheswarnath Kapoor. Raj Kapoor and his uncle Trilok Kapoor were born in the building. It has been declared national heritage by the provincial government.
Veteran actor Dilip Kumar’s over a 100-year-old ancestral house is also located in the same locality. The house is in shambles and was declared as a national heritage in 2014 by the then Nawaz Sharif government.
The owners of the two buildings made several attempts in the past to demolish them for constructing commercial plazas in view of their prime location but all such moves were stopped as the archaeology department wanted to preserve them, keeping in view their historic importance.