Conservation of Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor’s ancestral homes in Peshawar begins

Published October 1, 2021
In this photo taken on Oct 7, 2020, people walk in front of the Kapoor mansion, the more than 100-year-old ancestral home of the late Indian Bollywood icon Raj Kapoor, in Peshawar. — AFP/File
In this photo taken on Oct 7, 2020, people walk in front of the Kapoor mansion, the more than 100-year-old ancestral home of the late Indian Bollywood icon Raj Kapoor, in Peshawar. — AFP/File

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa directorate of archaeology and museums has formally begun the conservation of the ancestral homes of Bollywood legends Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor located inside the walled city of the provincial capital by documenting their details.

The government had taken the possession of the two properties, including Dilip Kumar’s in Mohallah Khudadad area and Kapoor Haveli in Dhaki Nalbandi area, from their respective owners in June this year through the colonial era land acquisition law Director (archaeology) Dr Abdul Samad told Dawn that his department’s experts had begun documenting details of the properties after cleaning the premises.

“The condition in which we received Dilip Kumar’s property was that its previous owners have left to us in really bad shape. It took us nearly two months to remove the broken material,” he said.

He said his department had started work soon after it was handed over to them.

Official says details of properties being documented to determine project cost

Mr Samad said that now after cleaning the premises, the directorate was working on the properties’ documentation to have ideas about the project’s total cost and related issues.

“Our engineers are busy in work but since it is very old building, it will take us time to figure out the old material used, construction techniques and assemble experts for the task,” he said.

The director said the directorate would be able to say something after the documentation of both properties was complete.

“Being an archaeologist, I can say that it would take us at least two to two and half years to conserve Dilip Kumar’s residence,” he said.

Mr Samad said the directorate was trying to follow international standards while conserving both properties.

He said the historical structures would be made museums after restoration.

After years long attempts to acquire both properties linked with the Bollywood actors, the KP government finally used the colonial era Land Acquisition Act, 1894, to take their control.

The government tasked the deputy commissioner of Peshawar with determining the rates of the properties and take them over. The district administration issued a notification on June 1 transferring the ownership of both properties to the directorate of archaeology.

The DC, under the award, valued Kapoor Haveli at Rs11.5 million and Dilip Kumar’s ancestral home at Rs7.2 million.

The Awami National Party government had tried to acquire Dilip Kumar’s ancestral home for conservation during its tenure in 2013-18. However, the rate dispute hampered the bid leading to litigation during the last CM Pervez Khattak-led government.

In Oct 2015, the government had informed the Peshawar High Court that it had dropped the plan of acquiring the house but declared it a protected antiquity stopping the owner from renovating it or making changes to it.

In 2016, the Kapoor Haveli was badly damaged by its current owner during demolition, which was brought to a halt by the intervention of the archaeology directorate.

However, the exercise destroyed the upper portion of the house and badly damaged the rest.

Published in Dawn, October 1st, 2021

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