Late Bollywood actor Rishi Kapoor’s historic haveli in the Peshawar city of Pakistan is facing a renewed threat of demolition. Curious to know why? To start with, its owner remains adamant on turning the historical property to rubbles and then going ahead to build a commercial shopping complex on the land, according to a PTI report. The haveli situated on the Qissa Khwani Bazar in Peshawar city was very dear to the late actor as his father Raj Kapoor and grandfather Prithviraj Kapoor were born there.
Acceding to the wish expressed by Rishi Kapoor and reported by PTI, the Pakistani government had in 2018 decided to convert the haveli into a museum with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi himself giving his word to the late actor to convert the haveli into a museum. However,this is not the first time that the property has been endangered as the owner has made several attempts in the past to demolish the property but failed to do so after the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa heritage department filed an FIR against him. Despite the willingness shown by the Provincial government in Pakistan to buy out the property, the present owner of the haveli Haji Muhammad Israr is reluctant to sell the property. Issues related to the cost of the haveli had also surfaced in the past, however, the owner insists that it is not about money.
“I have got enough money of my own to take care of my needs,” Israr was quoted as saying by PTI. “I supply more than 160 kg of gold into Peshawar’s biggest jewellery market every week,” he added. The cost of the haveli is estimated at Rs 5 crore.
Apart from the demolition threat, the old haveli which was built by the great grandfather of the late actor Basheswarnath Kapoor is also getting dilapidated due to rains, corrosion and other natural factors. Residents of the area who have deep attachment with the haveli say that the haveli needs urgent attention lest it collapses on its own.
It’s a pity and a matter of concern that the Kapoor haveli is being ignored and staring at its collapse, Mujeeb-ur-Rehman, a resident of Dhaki Nalbandi told PTI. Fondly remembering the last visit of Rishi Kapoor accompanied by his actor brother Randhir Kapoor to the haveli in the early 1990s, Rehman said that the haveli is the pride of the city and should be preserved.
Shakeel Waheedullah, Secretary Cultural Heritage Council Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also expressed regret over the pitiable and dilapidated condition of the historic haveli. The Kapoor family had moved to India after the partition of the subcontinent in 1947.