Dilip Kumar ancestral home turns into heritage site

Islamabad: Pakistani authorities have purchased Bollywood legend Dilip Kumar`s ancestral home in Peshawar for Rs 3 crore and declared it a heritage site.

Kumar was born as Muhammad Yusuf Khan at his family`s home at Mohalla Khudadad in the famed Qissa Khwani Bazar of Peshawar on December 11, 1922.

The Culture Department of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province recently purchased the actor`s ancestral home from its current owner for Rs 3 crore and declared it a heritage site, officials were quoted as saying by Geo News channel.

Repairs of the three-storey building with six rooms will begin within two months and it will subsequently be opened to the public, officials said. Kumar`s relatives lived in the house till about eight years ago, when they sold the building to a local resident for Rs 56 lakh.

Footage aired on Geo News showed cobwebs hanging from the ceilings of the house, which were in a poor condition.

At several places, the timber has rotted and the walls are crumbling. The building`s arched doorways and windows are still intact.

Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the Information Minister of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, had announced the provincial government`s plans to acquire the ancestral homes of Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor in December.

Hussain said both buildings would be given the status of national heritage sites.
Hussain had said both actors were a "source of pride for our land" as they were born in Peshawar.

The provincial government also plans to make documentaries and produce dramas on the life of great artists like Kumar.

During interviews, Kumar has fondly reminisced about visiting his ancestral home while on a trip to Pakistan. His father, Lala Ghulam Sarwar, was a fruit merchant who owned orchards in Peshawar and in Maharashtra.

In a recent post on his blog, the 89-year-old actor wrote that he was moved by the decision of Pakistani authorities to preserve his childhood home. He said he had many memories of Peshawar, where he received his "first lessons in story-telling".

"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 wrote.

"I have lovely memories of Qissa Khwani Bazar, where I received my first lessons in story-telling, which later provided the impetus to choose meaty stories and scripts for my work," he added.

Raj Kapoor, the son of acting legend Prithviraj Kapoor, too was born in Peshawar in 1924. The top floor of Prithviraj Kapoor`s five-storey house at Dakhi Nalbandi, Peshawar`s highest point, collapsed years ago but 60 rooms still survive.

Some relatives of Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan still live in Shah Wali Qataal area of Peshawar.