The provincial government in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has decided to purchase the ancestral houses of veteran Bollywood actors Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar. Indian actress Saira Banu, Kumar’s wife, has expressed gratitude after the move was announced.
The government reportedly plans to conserve the historic structures and turn them into museums, which are currently in dilapidated condition and face the threat of demolition.
“The move is part of efforts to restore Peshawar’s traditional culture which fell by the wayside due to the war on terror,” Director of Archaeology and Museums Dr Abdus Samad told BBC Urdu.
“I wish the provincial government success in its efforts and sincerely hope that this time the dream comes true…,” Banu told Indian media outlets.
Kumar’s ancestral house is over 100 years old and is situated in the Qissa Khwani Bazar locality, a densely populated marketplace in the provincial capital of Peshawar.
A number of current and former top Bollywood stars, including Shah Rukh Khan, have roots in the same area of Peshawar’s old city.
“My heart fills up with joy each time I receive the same news about the ancestral home of Yousuf Saheb (Dilip Kumar) in Peshawar in North West Frontier province (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa ), which the provincial government has been repeatedly trying to turn into a monument for posterity. It has come up so many times in the past, and I have appreciated the tenacity with which the government is pursuing the mission of turning the house into a museum for the public to visit and feel the vintage charm of the house where Dilip Saheb grew up like any bright boy of the province,” added Banu.
Remembering the couple’s last visit to the house, Banu said, “The house is of great sentimental value to my husband, and I have shared his pride and happiness during a visit to the property some years ago. He was so emotional when he saw the house where he spent his lovely childhood in the comfort and security of a large, refined family.”
Previously, the Pakistan government announced to turn Raj Kapoor’s ancestral house into a museum after his son, Bollywood actor Rishi Kapoor, requested for it.
According to reports in 2018, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had confirmed that the home that’s located in Peshawar will soon be turned into a museum. However, no news of the house being restored had emerged after that till now.
The house was built by Basheswarnath Kapoor, Rishi’s great-grandfather and father of Bollywood superstar Prithviraj Kapoor. Prithviraj was first to enter the Indian film industry amongst the Kapoor family.
Raj Kapoor was born in Peshawar on December 14, 1924. The actor and director is best known for a number of hit movies he made in the 1950s and 1960s.