Kapoor’s ancestral home lying in ruins in Peshawar

For decades the Kapoor family has been a mainstay of Bollywood. The list of stars the family has produced over the years is really long, starting from the acclaimed actor Prithviraj Kapoor and still continuing with the most recent introduction of Armaan Jain, his great grandson.

While they have been living in India from 1947, their original ancestral home is in Peshawar, Pakistan. While the house still exists today, it is in such poor condition that it may come crashing down soon. The information was revealed by a leading English daily of Pakistan. As per the report, "The air inside their old (Kapoor) haveli is still, the gloom in the empty rooms is like time mourning its own passage, a surrender to dust, to dampness and to death. It is the indifference of a terminal patient to a visitor who brings no hope but stands by the bed." 

The house is situated in Dhakki near the Qissa Khwani Bazaar (street of storytellers) in Peshawar.   It was originally owned by Prithviraj Kapoor’s father, Basheswarnath Kapoor. A wooden slab in the house announces the fact that the construction of the house began in 1918 and finished in 1922. The house is multi-storied and about 40 rooms. The front section is adorned by intricately designed floral motifs and 'jharokas' (overhanging balconies). At present the façade sections have begun to crumble.

The family shifted to Mumbai in the 1930’s but visited the house from time to time but after the partition in 1947, the visits stopped completely. It was purchased in 1968 by a jeweler Haji Khushal Rasool through auction and then resold to a Peshawar resident. About 29 years ago, the top three stories of the house had to be demolished because it developed cracks due to an earthquake. The last time the house was visited by the Kapoor’s was back in 1990’s when Prithviraj Kapoor’s youngest son Shashi Kapoor, and grandsons, Randhir Kapoor and Rishi Kapoor, sons of Raj Kapoor went there.

The reporter who prepared the reports said he had to tread "carefully as rubble falls from the roof, wary of breaking a mold-infested floorboard and go down to the dark basement where the building may collapse on itself one day if not saved soon… It will add to the debris under Dhakki, the old city neighborhood built over a mound of rubble beneath which lie many lost civilizations.” Interestingly, the ancestral homes of Dilip Kumar, Anil Kapoor and Shahrukh Khan are also located in the area.