According to a leading heritage expert here in northwest Pakistan, all ancestral homes of prominent Indian artists who left Pakistan at the time of partition should be preserved and converted into tourist destinations. The provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa last week approved the purchase of the ancestral homes of Bollywood mainstays Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor in the provincial capital here.
Commenting on the developments, Shakeel Wahidullah, Secretary of the Cultural Heritage Council, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said activists have struggled for 13 years to ensure the homes of these big screen giants are preserved. Waheedullah said nationality does not matter and such houses can be turned into tourist attractions in Pakistan.
Raj Kapoor’s ancestral home, called Kapoor Haveli, is located in the bazaar of Qissa Khwani. It was built between 1918 and 1922 by the grandfather of the great actor Dewan Basheswarnath Kapoor. Raj Kapoor and his uncle Trilok Kapoor were born here. It has been declared a national heritage by the provincial government.
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The century-old ancestral home of actor Dilip Kumar is also located in this neighborhood. The house is in a dilapidated state and was declared a national heritage in 2014 by the then Nawaz Sharif government. The provincial government has released Rs 2.30 crore for the purchase of two buildings.
Waheedullah said there are many more Indian stars in Peshawar who have ancestral homes in Peshawar, including Shah Rukh Khan, Madhu Bala, Saira Banu, Vinod Khanna, Anil Kapoor, Amjad Khan, Manoj Kumar and Randhir Kapoor. He said the Cultural Heritage Council would invite the families of these actors who live in Pakistan to attend an event held in Peshawar to promote tourism.
He said the ancestral homes of legendary actress Madhu Bala and actor Shah Rukh Khan’s father should be renovated.