Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has determined the price of the ancestral houses of legendary Bollywood actors Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor in the heart of this city at Rs 80,56,000 and Rs 1,50,00,000 respectively. The provincial government in September decided to purchase their ancestral houses to conserve the historic buildings which are in dilapidated condition and facing demolition threat.
The two buildings, located in the heart of this northern Pakistani city, have been declared as national heritage.
Deputy Commissioner of Peshawar Muhammad Ali Asghar, following a report of the Communication and Works Department, fixed the price of Dilip Kumar’s four Marla house for Rs 80,56,000 (USD 50,259) while that of Raj Kapoor’s six Marla house for Rs 1,50,00,000 (USD 93,529).
Marla, a traditional unit of area used in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, is considered as equal to 272.25 square feet or 25.2929 square metres. The archaeology department has sent a formal request to the provincial government for releasing over Rs 2 crore for purchasing both the historic buildings, where the two greats of the Indian cinema were born and raised in their early days before the Partition.
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 100-year-old ancestral house is also located in the same locality. The house is in shambles and was declared as national heritage in 2014 by the then Nawaz Sharif government.
The owners of the two buildings made many 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.
However, the owner of Kapoor Haveli, Ali Qadar, in the past said that he did not want to demolish the building and made many contacts with the archaeology department officials to protect and preserve this historic structure which is a national pride. The owner demanded Rs 200 crore from the provincial government to sell it out to the government.
In 2018, the Pakistan government decided to convert the Kapoor Haveli into a museum, heeding to a request by Rishi Kapoor who died this year in Mumbai. However, the announcement to this effect did not materialise.
There are around 1,800 historic structures in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which are over 300 years old.
According to the government, the museums will be thrown open to the general public to highlight the rich history of the historic Peshawar city and contribution of the two actors to Bollywood.