PESHAWAR: Known as City of Artists, Peshawar carries a unique distinction in South Asia of producing international film stars such as Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar and Shah Rukh Khan, who ruled over Bollywood for decades owing to their unparalleled performances on India’s silver screen.
A visitor can conveniently see ancestral homes of these all-time great Bollywood stars in the vicinity of historic Qisakhwani bazaar Peshawar where they had spent most of times before their parents migrated to British India for search of better future.
Raj Kapoor’s father, Prithvi Raj was the first self-confessed Hindu Pathan from Peshawar, who moved to Mumbai in 1930 where he prevailed over South Asian’s film industry both as an actor and producer, thereby laying the first Bollywood dynasty spanned about four generations.
Similarly, Shah Rukh Khan’s father, Taj Muhammad Khan was also born and raised at Qissakhwani where his celebrated son had good time with family members during his teenage and later became a superstar of Bollywood.
In a 10 minutes distance from Kapoor’s Havali and SRK’s house, there is a four- marla house of another Bollywood legend, Dilip Kumar, who ruled over Bollywood for nearly six decades with over 65 successful films on his credit. Dilip Kumar house is being visited by thousands of his fans these days to see it following his sad demise in a Mumbai hospital on July 7, 2021.
Born at the residence of Lala Ghulam Sarwar Khan at Mohallah Khudadad near Qissa Khawani, Peshawar on December 11, 1922, Yousaf Khan famous as Dilip Kumar in Bollywood, had spent his child and adulthood in Peshawar for 13 years before migrated to Mumbai in 1935 with his father, who had established fresh fruit business there.
“Dilip uncle was an inborn film star. He walks and talks like a legend when he was a child in Peshawar, where his communication skills impressed relatives, friends and neighbours,” said Faud Ishaq, the nephew of Dilip Kumar and former SCCI President while talking to APP.
He said Yousaf Khan has found an opportunity to materialize his cherished dreams of becoming a film actor in Mumbai where he was given a staged film name Dilip Kumar and soon earned a prominent place in the competitive Bollywood.
Dilip Kumar’s casting was considered success of the Indians movies especially romantic and tragic films during his six-decade long rule on Bollywood where he acted in over 65 popular films and earned the title of “King of Romance and Tragedy.”
He demonstrated dynamic acting skills in popular movies including Naya Door (1957), Gang Jamna (1961), Deodas (1955), Kohinoor (1960), Leader (1946), Babul (1949), Andaz (1949), Paigam (1959), Foothpath (1953), Mashall (1984), Karma (1986) and became a popular hero in subcontinent.
Keeping in view of the meritorious services of Dilip Kumar in bringing people of both the countries closer through his unique performances, the government of Pakistan decorated him with the Civil Award “Nishan e Imtiaz”.
“Peshawar and Dilip Kumar is inseparable,” Faud Ishaq said, adding the latter his special love for Peshawarties that could hardly be expressed in words. He said Dilip Kumar’s love for Peshawar can be judged from his power of attorney in which he wished to use his ancestral house for welfare of Peshawarities.
The cinematic legand when visited Peshawar in 1988 and 1998 was welcomed by thousands of his fans gathered at Qissa Khawani to see few glimpses of the Mughal Azam’s hero.
“Dilip Sahib wished to see his house in 1998 when came to Peshawar. So we select to visit his house between 130am to 200am (midnight) but could not enter it due to presence of thousands of his fans at Qissa Khwani arrived to see his few glimpses and subsequently we returned back,” Faud Ishaq recalled.
Later, Dilip Kumar had visited historic Balahisar Fort discovered by Chinese Buddhist monk and traveler, Xuanzang during his visit to Peshawar in 630 AD and had taken a birds’ eyes view of Peshawar city from its rooftop. He was highly impressed by preservation of the historic fort and FC band performance there.
“The mouthwatering Peshawari Chappli Kabab, Paiye and Bakkarkhani rooti (bread) was his favorite food during lunch and breakfast exclusively brought for him from historic Ghanta Ghar, Peshawar City, “ he said, adding he also liked traditional Peshawar’s Bhoski Qamees with white Shalwar, Teli Chappal and Karakoor cap (Jinnah Cap) and “whenever he came here used it with pride of being the son of Peshawar.”
Faud Ishaq said he was highly educated personality with complete command over English, urdu, Pashto and Hindko and can talk for hours on every subject including politics, literature, economy, education, cultural and performing arts.
He said Dilip Sahib has considered education as an effective tool to excel in every field of life and stressed on younger family members to acquire quality education before joining any profession of their choice.
“The history of Indian Cinema would be written before and after Dilip Kumar as he left an indelible mark on Bollywood,” said Manzoorul Haq, former Ambassador of Pakistan while talking to APP.
“I consider words like ‘icon, legend or celebrity” are very less for Dilip Sahib. In fact, he was an institution, who set a benchmark and left a rich legacy’s behind,” said Ambassador Manzoor.
He said Dilip’s performance was widely appreciated beyond borders and his ancestral house in shabby condition needs repair and renovation on priority basis to pay rich tribute to iconic actor,” he said.
Archeology, Sports and Tourism Department’s spokesman, Lateef-ur- Rehman said the possession of four-marla house of Dilip Kumar and six marla Havali Raj Kapoor had been taken over by KP Government in 2020 and would soon be converted into museums to pay tributes to the Peshawar born sons.
He said both houses were declared as Protected Monument under Antiquity Act of 1997 and rehabilitation work would commence soon.
Faud Ishaq thanked PTI Government for declaring Dilip’s house as a heritage and converting it into museum along with Raj Kapoor Havali, which was a great tribute to these legends.
“The love expressed by people of Pakistan, especially Peshawar after the sad demise of Dilip uncle was a source of strength for our family and even after passage of 12 days of his demise, we are receiving condolences messages from inside and outside of Pakistan,” said Senator Mohsin Aziz, nephew of Dilip Kumar.
He said although Dilip Kumar was not among with us today but his versatile performances, love for Peshawar and mobilization of people for charity works like Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Fatamid Foundation would always be remembered in golden words.