Dilip Kumar doesn't have a bungalow anymore! | india | Hindustan Times
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Dilip Kumar doesn't have a bungalow anymore!

City body lists former superstar Dilip Kumar’s bungalow as possible heritage site, delists it thereafter. We realise, Dilip Kumar in fact doesn’t have a bungalow anymore! Sneha Mahale and Collin Rodrigues investigate.

india Updated: Sep 23, 2009 19:54 IST

Dilip KumarTake a right/left turn from Dilip Kumar’s bungalow," is a statement that travellers looking for directions on Pali Hill, Bandra, have heard innumerable times. So it wasn’t surprising to know that the beautiful bungalow belonging to Hindi cinema’s greatest legend made it to Mumbai’s draft heritage list.

However, much to the dismay of conversationalists, the bungalow had to be struck off the list of honour because it was reportedly demolished to make way for a high-rise.

“People dread to make it to the heritage list because it means that their bungalows cannot be demolished,” said Shivangi Shah, historian and conservationist. She adds, “The rich prefer to re-develop their bungalows because of the fear of being eclipsed by high-rises in the vicinity; several others find it more lucrative to sell them rather than maintain them.”

Today, the architectural façade that earned the landmark bungalow in Pali Hill a place on the list no longer exists. The thespian’s cottage has been under renovation since 2007. At that time, rumours were rife about the Bollywood bungalow being razed to the ground to give way to a skyscraper. Actress Saira Banu denied the claim.

Dilip Kumar bought the spacious ground plus one bungalow in the 1950s when he was at the height of his popularity with films like Devdas, Madhumati and Naya Daur. In 1966, he married Saira Banu, who lived down the lane and moved into her house. Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu were unavailable for comment.

‘No comments’
Ayub Khan, Dilip Kumar’s nephew, claims ignorance about the new development. He says, “I have no idea about the heritage list and wouldn’t want to comment on it.”

This bungalow wasn’t the only one to meet this fate. The Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee believes that the government’s failure to notify the revised heritage list immediately may have already cost the city a few structures.

Owners of private structures recommended for listing, like many textile mills, allowed builders to re-develop their buildings before they were listed.

However, there is hope. Despite the few missed structures, the city’s architectural history will receive a boost, when 900-odd additional structures could be added to the already existing list of 588 structures that are being protected as heritage buildings.

DK Afzalpurkar, the chief of the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee, confirmed that the process to notify all the new structures has indeed begun. He says, “The BMC will invite suggestions and objections. The commissioner will then forward his comments to the government, which will sanction the final list. The whole process will take about two months.”

It was in 2005 that the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Heritage Conservation Society (MMR-HCS) had taken up the task of revising the 10-year-old heritage list. However, at that time, the list was restricted to structures in South Mumbai. Now, besides structures of heritage value in the suburbs, the list also recommends heritage listing for key open spaces, statues and bridges.

Latest entrants
For the first time since the committee’s inception in 1995, the list includes many water bodies like Tulsi, Vihar and Powai lakes. These water bodies could soon get heritage status, provided the state government accepts the recommendations of the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee.

Other structures that have made it to the list include the Mafatlal House building and many quaint bungalows spread across Bandra-Khar, Reliance Building, Statue of Mahadeo Govind Ranande and the Post and Telegraph Office.

Surprisingly, several precincts too made the cut as the focus of the heritage committee has been on preservation of the unique character of some precincts in Mumbai.

The Chimbai road, Chembur
village, Old Khar village, Pali Mala Road, Shivaji Park and Pali Hill are some precints that qualify for heritage status. However, not many areas related to art and culture and entertainment, are on that list, with Liberty Cinema at Marine Lines, being the exception.