Peshawar: The century-old ancestral house of Bollywood legend Dilip Kumar, which was already in a dilapidated condition, has collapsed but the authorities say a replica would soon come up at the site.
Only the front portion and the gate of the house, situated in Mohalla Khuda Dad near historic Qissa Khawani bazaar, are intact now, according to Shakeel Waheedullah, General Secretary, Cultural Heritage Council. Prominent members of the city criticised the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government for neglecting the preservation of the iconic structure even though it was declared a national heritage in 2014 by the archaeology department.
Waheedullah said he submitted six applications to the KP government to draw their attention to the condition of the house, but no action was taken. He said Saira Banu, wife of Dilip Kumar, has been informed about the condition of the house. “Saira Banu became dejected after she came to know about the collapse of the ancestral house of Dilip Kumar,” he said.
Ehtesham Toru, President Cultural Journalist Forum KP, said it was ironic that the ancestral house was not saved from destruction. Director of Archaeology and Museums, Abdul Samad, however, called the cave-in a “blessing in disguise” as it will give them a chance to reconstruct the house.
Samad said the structure was in shambles and according to engineers, it could not be conserved. “The only way to conserve this house was to reconstruct it as the structure was irreparable,” Samad added. He said the archaeology department had to demolish the structure for its reconstruction. He said the archaeology department would soon construct a replica of the house under the KP Antiquities Act 2016.
The house, Samad said, was owned by someone and conservation efforts were halted due to litigation. The new law, however, allows the archaeology department to carry on conservation or reconstruction work at any ancient site without ownership. “We have launched a project to document all historic and ancient places within the Walled City of Peshawar and under the same project, the replica of Dilip Kumar’s house would be reconstructed soon,” Samad said.
Some of the biggest Bollywood stars including Dilip Kumar, the Kapoors, Shah Rukh Khan and late Vinod Khanna belonged to Peshawar and their ancestral houses still exist in the city. Dilip Kumar was born in 1922 at Mohalla Khuda Dad and in his teens he went to Mumbai to become a cinema star. The government of Pakistan honoured him by awarding Nisha-e-Imtiaz, the highest civilian award of the country, in 1998.