PESHAWAR: Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government and the owners of the ancestral houses of legendary Bollywood actors Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor have been urged to reach a settlement over the rate fixed for the purchase of the two historic buildings for converting them into museums.
Faisal Faroqui, a Peshawar-based spokesman for Dilip Kumar, told reporters here on Sunday that Peshawar lives in the heart of the Indian legendary actor and that he always discusses his association and sweet memories with his birth place and the ancestral home in Mohallah Khudadad where he was born in 1922 before being shifted to India in 1935.
The family and the fans of the Indian film legends were very enthusiastic over the provincial government's decision to convert the two historic buildings into museums to honour the Bollywood legends and preserve their contribution to the Indian cinema, he said.
Faroqui said that preserving the ancestral houses of the legendary actors will not only promote importance of Peshawar but also strengthen Pakistan's tourism industry.
The provincial government early this month approved the release of Rs 2.35 crore to purchase the ancestral houses of the two legendary actors located in the heart of this city.
The price of Dilip Kumar's four marla (101 square metre) house has been fixed at Rs 80.56 lakh (USD 50,517) while that of Raj Kapoor's six marla house (151.75 square metre) at Rs 1.50 crore (USD 94,061).
After the procurement, both the houses will be converted into museums by the archaeology department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
However, the owners of the ancestral houses have refused to sell the buildings at the rate fixed by the provincial government, saying the prime location property has been severely undervalued.
The owner of Dilip Kumar's ancestral house has demanded Rs 25 crore for the property.
The owner, Haji Lal Muhammad, said he had purchased the property in 2005 for Rs 51 lakh after completing all formalities required for the transfer of the land and possesses all the documents of the house.
He said it is unjust on part of the government to fix the rate at Rs 80. 56 lakh for the property after 16 years.
The owner of the ancestral house of Raj Kapoor demanded Rs 200 crore for the property in Peshawar.
The government, however, has fixed the rate at Rs 1.50 crore. Raj Kapoor's ancestral home, known as Kapoor Haveli, is situated in the fabled Qissa Khwani Bazar.
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 house.
The building, which is in shambles, has been declared a national heritage by the provincial government.
The owners of the two buildings have made several attempts in the past to demolish them for constructing commercial plazas in view of their prime location but all such moves were stopped as the archaeology department wanted to preserve them, keeping in view their historic importance.