Family and fans of the Indian film legends Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor may have to wait longer for their ancestral home to be turned into museums, thanks to the exorbitant prices for the properties quoted by the current owners.
Many on India were very enthusiastic over Pakistan's Kyber-Pakhtunkhwa government's decision to buy and convert the two historic buildings into museums to honour the Bollywood legends and preserve their contribution to Indian cinema. But despite its good intentions, the government has found it difficult to proceed with the matter due to the high prices that current owners of the houses are demanding.
According to reports, the owner of Dilip Kumar's ancestral home has demanded Rs 25 crore for the property. The owner of Raj Kapoor's home has demanded Rs 200 crore for selling the house to the provincial government.
The Department of Archaeology in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province has decided to allocate sufficient funds for purchasing the two buildings, which have been declared as the national heritage and lie in the heart of Peshawar city, an official said. The government has nevertheless set the price for Dilip Kumar's house at Rs 80.56 lakh while the rate for Raj Kapoor's has been fixed at Rs 1.50 crore, which is a far cry from what the owners are demanding.
Veteran actor Dilip Kumar's over the 100-year-old ancestral house is situated in the fabled Qissa Khwani Bazar. The house is in shambles and was declared as a national heritage in 2014 by the then Nawaz Sharif government.
As per reports, its owner Haji Lal Muhammad bought the property in 2005 for Rs 51 lakh. He refused to sell the property at the rate fixed by the government as he feels it severely undervalued the property, even after 16 years of sale.
Raj Kapoor's ancestral home, known as Kapoor Haveli, also located in the same locality. 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.
Dr Abdus Samad Khan, the head of the department of archaeology, told media that the owners of the two houses had on several previous occasions tried to demolish the buildings for constructing commercial plazas in view of their prime location. All such moves have so far been blocked by the department which wanted to preserve them keeping in view their historic importance.
Ali Qadar, who owns Kapoor Haveli 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 national pride. He has nevertheless demanded Rs 200 crore from the KP government.
In 2018, the Pakistan government decided to convert the Kapoor Haveli into a museum, heeding a request by Rishi Kapoor who died this year in Mumbai. However, the announcement to this effect could not be materialised despite a lapse of around two years.
(With inputs from PTI)