Legendary Bollywood singer, actor and director Kishore Kumar's ancestral property might be in jeopardy due to lack of proper upkeep. The municipal corporation of Khandwa, a town in Madhya Pradesh, has issued a notice for immediate vacation of the house on grounds of it being a safety hazard to visitors. The 14-room, two-storey Ganguly House, where Kishore Kumar and his actor brothers Ashok and Anoop Kumar spent their formative years, has been in a severely dilapidated condition for several years now.
A notice, pasted at the entrance said, "The house is in a dilapidated condition and can fall down anytime, causing harm to people. It is not fit for habitation and should be vacated within 24 hours. Otherwise, the corporation will forcibly vacate the house and raze the structure," reported Hindustan Times.
On reading the notice, Sitaram, the caretaker of the house and its resident for the last 40 years, informed Anoop Kumar's son, Arjun Kumar, in Mumbai. Kishore Kumar had given away Ganguly House to his brother Anoop, which makes Arjun its current owner.
HT quotes Arjun Kumar as saying, "A similar notice was served last year and in 2013. I agree that the house is in bad shape but it can't be a danger for anyone else. As it is the rainy season it's not possible for us to renovate it. Without our permission they can't demolish it."
According to an Indian Express report, Khandwa Municipal Commissioner JJ Joshi called the move the corporation's "regular process to monitor dangerous buildings during monsoon".
Kishore Kumar's attachment to Ganguly House, also often called Gaurikunj, is well-known to his fans. He had wanted to return to Khandwa and the haveli in the twilight years of his life, but the wish remained unfulfilled until his death on October 13, 1987. Kishore Kumar's samadhi, too, is close to the singer's former home.
Despite the nostalgia attached to it, the Madhya Pradesh government has done little to convert the 100-year-old structure into a museum or a heritage site. In 2012, MP's then culture minister, Laxmikant Sharma, had said that the state government wanted to convert the house into a museum, but needed the family's approval. The matter fizzled out when no concrete steps were taken in that direction.
Ganguly House's uncertain fate is shared by many yesteryear stars' childhood homes. Veteran actor Dilip Kumar's 100-year-old house in Peshawar was in such a dilapidated condition that it collapsed last month. This, despite being declared a national heritage in 2014 by the archaeology department of Pakistan.
In January this year, there was news of similar neglect and decay of renowned film actress Suchitra Sen's house in Bangladesh, making it a regular hideout for petty criminals and drug addicts. Following the news, Bangladesh's cultural affairs minister had assured people that the house would be restored and converted into a museum in memory of the late actress by the end of the year.
In 2014, celebrated Urdu writer Saadat Hasan Manto's house in Lahore met with a similar fate. Due to lack of interest from the government in preserving the house where Manto spent the last years of his life, and rapid commercialisation that had taken over the locality, Manto's daughter Nighat was forced to sell the property and move out.
In January 2016, the famous Kapoor Haveli in Peshawar, the birthplace of Raj Kapoor, was under threat of demolition and conversion into a shopping mall or hotel, after a price dispute prevented the local government from acquiring the house from its current owners. The house was built in 1918 by Raj Kapoor's grandfather. Raj Kapoor was born in the house in 1924. Brothers Shammi and Shashi Kapoor were born in India, but they have visited and lived in the haveli in the past. Interestingly, Dilip Kumar's house and Kapoor Haveli are both in the Qissa Khwani bazaar area of Peshawar.
Also on HuffPost