Showman Raj Kapoor’s house to be converted into museum

Published: September 23, 2012

Ranbir Kapoor has expressed his desire to attend the inauguration of the museum along with his family. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD IQBAL/EXPRESS

Ranbir Kapoor has expressed his desire to attend the inauguration of the museum along with his family. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD IQBAL/EXPRESS
Ranbir Kapoor has expressed his desire to attend the inauguration of the museum along with his family. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD IQBAL/EXPRESS
PESHAWAR: 

The walled city of Peshawar has a stronger Bollywood connection than many would expect. The roots of three B-town legends can be traced back to its bustling streets — Dilip Kumar (Muhammed Yusuf Khan), Shahrukh Khan and Ranbirraj ‘Raj’ Kapoor. Seemingly lost in oblivion over the years, Raj Kapoor’s ancestral home is to be converted into a museum by the end of this year.

The house is situated in Mohallah Dhaki Munawar Shah, inside the walled city, where on December 14, 1924, Raj Kapoor was born to Prithviraj Kapoor — who played his first lead role in Indian film Cinema Girl in 1929 — in a house owned by his grandfather D Bashisharnath.

Shaikh Amjad Rasheed, the chairman of IMGC Global Entertainment in Pakistan, has taken the initiative of renovating the haveli and converting it into a museum. Elaborating on the project, Rasheed tells The Express Tribune, “We are planning to renovate Prithviraj Kapoor’s five-storey house and turn it into a museum. We are in continuous interaction with the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government and hope that we will soon get the green light to acquire the house from its present owners as soon as possible.”

While he clarified that he has not yet been informed of any such endeavour, Minister for Culture Mian Iftikhar Hussain, tells The Express Tribune that anyone who is taking such an initiative is “more than welcome” and that the K-P government aims to work hard to promote culture and arts as much as they can, while defeating terrorism.

The house still stands in its original condition in Ander Shehr, but its illustrious inhabitants, Raj Kapoor and Prithviraj ji, moved to Mumbai a long time ago. Back then, the film stars were Peshawar’s exports to the world.

Speaking more about the cultural significance of the house, Rasheed explains that it is a source of pride for the inhabitants of Peshawar and they would like to protect its rich heritage. He elaborates that the house is of great historical significance to the city and should be rightfully preserved and dedicated to Raj Kapoor’s life and work.  Careful renovations will take place so that the house is appropriately rehabilitated, keeping its original structure intact.

He claims that the plans for the upcoming project have also been shared with Raj Kapoor’s grandson, Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor, who Rasheed says was “extremely happy” to hear the news. Rasheed also says that the young actor expressed a keen desire to visit Peshawar along with his family for the inauguration of the museum.

Indian heroes from Peshawar

The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government had granted the status of ‘national heritage’ to home of the Indian film industry legend Dilip Kumar. It is situated in the narrow alleys of Mohalla Khudadad near the historic Qissa Khwani Bazaar (Market of Storytellers).

To make it official, Rs30 million were allocated to purchase the house and complete repair and reconstruction work on the dilapidated structure. It was to be completed in a few weeks and then be opened for tourists and art lovers in the city. However, the plan was not seen through because of a dispute over the ownership of the historic property.

Megastar Shahrukh Khan also has strong ancestral bonds with the walled city. Not only was it his father’s birthplace, but his entire paternal family also stems from the region and many of his relatives reside there today. “We feel proud of Shahrukh whose fans give us exceptional regard when they come to know that we are his cousins”, Maqsood Ahmed, one of Shahrukh’s cousins living in Peshawar, told Times of India in an earlier report. He said that Shahrukh visited Peshawar twice, along with his father; first in 1978 when he was 13 and then again in 1980, when he stayed with his family for a month in the city.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 24th, 2012.         

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Reader Comments (10)

  • naeem khan Manahttan,Ks
    Sep 23, 2012 - 9:21PM

    It is a great idea and may I say that those who own the properties should be given the legal rights and may be even royalty from tourists visitation unless they opt for lump sum money. Moreover it will be prudent to have the private parties involved and gather private funding through donations from the public in general and the businesses in particular, leave the government out of it, bureaucracy will make a mess of these projects. I recall when I was growing up in Mardan, my late uncle showed me his class picture when he was a student at Edwards College Peshawar, there, right beside him was standing Prithviraj Kapoor. Don’t forget to see the archives at ECP.

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  • Pakistani Pashtoon
    Sep 23, 2012 - 9:30PM

    great step

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  • Truth Detector
    Sep 23, 2012 - 9:45PM

    Undue , unnecessary and somewhat shameful flattery of Bollywood stars when they don’t give a damn about Pakistan or their Pakistani fans. One has to notice condescension in their tone when they mention Pakistan. Don’t mean to generalize but this is true by and large.

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  • Gem
    Sep 23, 2012 - 10:18PM

    @Truth Detector:
    What are you talking about?

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  • Peace-loving Indian
    Sep 24, 2012 - 2:07AM

    It is high time Pakistanis stopped seeing Bollywood as Indian. Bollywood, like all art and culture, belongs to the world. From Manto to Ali Zafar, Pakistan has a great place in Bollywood and Bollywood has a great place in Pakistan.

    This is a great step for Pakistan to project its soft image and should not be seen as some kind of favour to Bollywood or the Raj Kapoor family.

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  • manas
    Sep 24, 2012 - 8:45AM

    Creditable Service by govt, of Pakistan .But one most popular hero of bollywood RAJKUMAR Was also belong BALUCHISTAN so govt also make his home museum.

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  • Raza Khan
    Sep 24, 2012 - 11:10AM

    Outstanding & very wise decision!Recommend

  • Dr. Asad Sadick, Germany
    Sep 24, 2012 - 7:02PM

    @Truth Detector: And may I know how you would earn a better response by the Indians or for that matter by anyone. We keep on living in a fools paradise and continue to be arrogant. Reality is hard to accept, eh?

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  • MAC
    Sep 25, 2012 - 2:59AM

    @Truth detector, this whole purpose of the story was to show that both Indian and Pakistani people are interlinked in unexpected ways. Our cultures and lifestyles are much more similar than the Arab-Pakistan culture and lifestyle, which is definitely artificial. I can see why you would focus on the apparent condescension, but its time to move beyond the typical narrative that puts these two against each other.

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  • Sep 25, 2012 - 2:31PM

    the truth is, although made in bombay, the hindi film industry represents only a tiny 2% of India’s population. common Indians don’t feel home at punjabi and pathan dominated bollywood.

    we can see that more than Indians, often people from Pakistan,Afghania,central asians and many others who enjoy bollywood and many are die-hard fans.

    technically, 99% of the actors are from that of pashtun or punjabi/sindhi ancestory and are those who left pakistan during partition. the partition based cinemas are often made by punjabis and they still love their ancestoral places in pakistan.

    so, overall bollywood is now a international film industry particularly representing Pakistan and India’s Punjab,Delhi,Kashmir region.

    In South India for example, Hindi cinemas are not even seen or understood(except some urban people) but, a Misri(egyptian) will appreciate Hindi cinema more than many Indians. tell me, is bollywood Indian? NO! it is run using the money pumped from many other countries including Pakistan.

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