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Only 11 bungalows remain on Pali Hill

This article from TOI is a bit dated, and things might have changed, but a great piece of journalism, republishing it again. 

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The felling of bungalows in the leafy and exclusive oasis of Bandra’s Pali Hill has been recorded with dismal regularity. But the pace of redevelopment—and the growth of multi-storey towers—is staggering. Of the 32 bungalows that dotted Pali Hill’s meandering roads two years ago, only 11 remain. Of the 11, the owners of two homes are allegedly in talks with developers, say sources. One is the residence of actor Sanjeev Kumar who passed away in 1985, and the other belongs to Naseer Hussain.

bunjgalow 1Madhu Poplai, secretary of Pali Hill Residents Association (PHRA), said:

“Most new buildings that are under construction are more than 20 storeys tall. The old buildings were no more than 10 storeys high.’’

Around 1,170 families reside in the neighbourhood, but the numbers are expected to touch nearly 3,000.

“The area does not have the infrastructure to take this load,’’

 Poplai added.

In the recent past, Pali Hill has acquired an aura of edgy exclusivity that even sought after neighbourhoods in south Mumbai such as Malabar Hill and Altamount Road find hard to compete with. Bharat B Bhalla, filmwriter and resident, said: 

“The bungalows were owned by the British, Parsis and Catholics. Later, film stars such as Dev Anand, Sunil Dutt, Dilip Kumar and Meena Kumari started moving into these properties. They took a liking to the place because of the anonymity it provided. Film personalities, by temperament, prefer crowds in the theatres but not in their neighbourhood.’’

Those who can afford it are willing to pay the earth for an apartment on Pali Hill, and the compensation bungalow owners receive helps alleviate the pain of losing one’s family home to the march of development. Krishna-Raj, home to actor Rishi Kapoor, is the latest in a long line of celebrity bungalows that have gone under the hammer. The actor’s wife Neetu Singh told TOI that things are still in the planning stage.

Residents are not happy with the change. Dr Amitav Shukla, chairman of PHRA said,

“Though the BMC has declared this place a purely residential zone, the new construction sites are allocating commercial space including offices and preview theatres in these buildings. We are not against people redeveloping their properties, but we will resist any attempt to commercialize any corner of this locality.’

’ The REL bungalow is also being redeveloped, and residents say that a tower is coming up in its stead—a claim that REL officials have denied:

“The property is being redeveloped to construct a guest house. We are willing to clarify any misgivings of the residents.’’

Change is inevitable as these bungalows are money guzzlers. The few families who cling resolutely to a dying way of life like the Kotharis—they’ve been living in Gunjan for 25 years—are willing to pay the price, for now. An even rarer lot like businessman Sushil Mehta, who moved into Jeetendra’s former bungalow Fiesta, are seeking these houses not to give them to developers, but to live in them and enjoy a life less ordinary on Pali Hill.

bungalow 2BUNGALOWS UNDER REDEVELOPMENT

Krishna-Raj

Currently home to actor Rishi Kapoor, it was purchased by the family from nuclear scientist Homi Sethna, in the 1980s. It was rechristened Krishna-Raj, after legendary actor-director Raj Kapoor and his wife Krishna.

Dilip Kumar’s Bungalow

Actor Dilip Kumar’s bungalow, one of the landmarks on Pali Hill, was pulled down a couple of years ago. The original ground plus one bungalow was leased by the thespian in the 1950s. The actor and his wife resided in this beautiful property for almost five decades.

Baxter’s Bungalow

It once belonged to a Parsi family, the Baxters. TOI had reported earlier that a multistorey building is being constructed on the property

Dev Anand’s Bungalow, Anand Niwas

Located on Zig-Zag Road, the veteran actor Dev Anand’s bungalow was recently pulled down. A 16-storey tower is coming up in its stead

Sandhu Palace

The bungalow no longer exists. Coming up there are two 19-storey towers have about 70 with apartments as large as 4,150-6,150 sq ft

REMAINING BUNGALOWS IN PALI HILL

Wadia Bungalow | Hat Field Bungalow | Avon Lodge | Bhagat’s Bungalow | Narang’s Bungalow | High Tree | Boskiyana (owned by Gulzar) | Nottam’s Bungalow | Salisbury | Negotiations with on two other houses—one belonging to actor Sanjeev Kumar who passed away in 1985 and the other to Naseer Hussain—are currently believed to be taking place.

 

AN OASIS IN MUMBAI

In 1991, I shifted from my apartment into Fiesta, which I had bought from Jeetendra. Living in my bungalow, I can pursue my hobby, gardening. Open spaces are hard to find in a city like Mumbai. A bungalow also gives me the freedom to design my home as per my dream.

 Sushil Mehta | BUSINESSMAN AND RESIDENT OF FIESTA

We have been staying in a bungalow for 25 years now. Apart from the privacy and open space, it’s like living in a hill station—one that is bang in the middle of a sprawling city. The one drawback is that bungalows demand regular maintenance and proper care; this requires employing many hands.

Sushma Kothari | RESIDENT OF GUNJAN

My brother purchased a bungalow from actor Bharat Bhushan in the late ’60s. In the early ’70s, my father gave his permission for the construction of a building. I still believe that it was not the right move; the charm of living in a bungalow is unique

Prasan Kapoor | BROTHER OF FILM STAR JEETENDRA

 


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