He told of his mansion that, ‘Our spacious five-storey mansion had 40 rooms, but we have spent our happiest moments in the evening in the living room on the first floor, where the elders used to sit on the floor, talk, There was a support of round pillows on his back. Laying the carpet on the carpet. We kids used to eat nuts and dry fruits after having fun and playing all day.
Dhawan is very happy and thrilled to know that the danger of demolishing the mansion has been averted. The provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan is now planning to renovate it and convert it into a museum.
It took two years to build the mansionThe great showman Raj Kapoor’s aunt, though Dhawan, two years younger than her, says, ‘My father Diwan Basheshwanath Kapoor told us that the completed mansion took two years to build and it was completed in 1922. Actually my brother Trilok Kapoor and nephew Raj were born here. However, fate took us to Kolkata and then Mumbai when Prithviraj became a star. He told that, he remembers every nook and corner of the mansion.
Dhawan spent his school and teenage years in Kolkata. As an adult, Shanta Kapoor Dhawan spent her time in Mumbai with glamorous heroines like Nargis, Meena Kumari and Munawar Sultana. After marriage she moved to Jamshedpur with her engineer husband and raised her two sons and two daughters there.
Now she is living in Gurgaon with her young son, she says, ‘Of late I still see my house in Peshawar in my dreams. I see flower patterns and vents hanging in my balcony and large courtyard, where I have learned to hop, jump and jump. I just yearned to go there because I am the last living Kapoor whose house it is. “
When Raj Kapoor’s sons came
Earlier in 1990, the late Rishi Kapoor, son of actor Randhir and Raj Kapoor, visited the mansion and requested that it be preserved as a museum. After the death of Rishi Kapoor, it was in April last year that the Government of Pakistan started finding ways to preserve this mansion as well as the ancestral home of Dilip Kumar. The final decision was taken for the museum on the instructions of Pakistan PM Imran Khan.
Dhawan recalls, ‘Both Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar were friends of Peshawar and the friendship in Mumbai flourished when the two struggled and then reached great heights in films. I am witness to that era of both from Peshawar to stardom.