Late actor Dilip Kumar’s over a century-old ancestral house situated in the fabled Qissa Khwani Bazar in Peshawar was declared a national heritage in 2014 by the then Nawaz Sharif government. A spokesman for Kumar had once said that Peshawar was an integral part of him and he often used to reminisce his association and memories of his birthplace and the ancestral home in Mohallah Khudadad where he was born in 1922. The family later migrated to Mumbai in 1935. This house, as well as Raj Kapoor’s ancestral home, were on the brink of demolition before the provincial government in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa stepped in and announced to buy them.
Many in India were very enthusiastic over the 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 demanded Rs 25 crore for the property.
The price of Kumar’s four marla (101 square metre) house was ultimately fixed for Rs 80.56 lakh, with the Department of Archaeology in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province allocating funds for purchasing the two buildings. The price that has been fixed, however, is a far cry from what the owners demanded in both cases.
The owner of Kumar’s house, Haji Lal Muhammad, said he had purchased the property in 2005 for Rs 51 lakh after completing all formalities required for transfer of the land and possesses all the documents of the house. The government’s pricing, he felt, severely undervalued the property.
After the news broke of his ancestral house being bought, people began to flood social media with photographs of the building which was in shambles. A seemingly nostalgic Kumar had shared one such tweet on Twitter and thanked people for sharing the photographs. He had also urged people of Pehsawar to share more such pictures and tag him.
“Thank you for sharing this. Requesting all in #Peshawar to share photos of my ancestral house (if you’ve clicked the pic) and tag #DilipKumar (sic),” he had written.
— Dilip Kumar (@TheDilipKumar) September 30, 2020
Kumar had often shared his sentiments from the time of living in his house filled with relatives.
#DilipKumar‘s sentiments on his ancestral house in #Peshawar. (2011) -FF
1/n I am at once full of fond remembrances of my parents, grandparents and numerous uncles, aunts and cousins who filled the house with the sounds of their chatter and hearty laughter.
— Dilip Kumar (@TheDilipKumar) October 1, 2020
Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government and the owners of the ancestral houses of the legendary actors were urged to reach a settlement over the rate fixed for the purchase of the two historic buildings for converting them into museums.