|Bachchan, Kakori kebab
Lucknow, June 28: So what the nawabs have gone, Avadhs famed Kakori kebabs now have a Shahenshah for company.
Shahenshah, as in Amitabh Bachchan.
After the controversy over buying farmland in Barabanki in violation of norms, the Bachchans have moved on to a new pasture near Lucknow — and this time nobodys complaining.
The superstars family has bought the plot in a village in Kakori block, a place that has lent its name to the famous tandoori dish from the Avadhi stable.
Kakori has a place in history, too. On August 9, 1925, a group of freedom fighters carried out an armed robbery on a train to fund their struggle against the British. Four of them were later executed.
But its the Kakori kebab, which is more famous.
Made of minced meat, marinated with fresh herbs and spices, and finished in the tandoor, the kebab is one of the attractions of Lucknow, once the city of nawabs.
One story goes that a nawab lost his teeth but not the craving for the kebabs.
Now the Shahenshah — or king of kings — is going to add to the allure.
Neither Bachchan, who played the title role in the 1988 film Shahenshah, nor any of his family members was available for comment, but sub-divisional district magistrate Mahendra Singh confirmed the Bachchans had bought land in Muzaffarpur village in the block, 30km from Lucknow.
My office received sale deeds for transfer of land in favour of the Bachchans, he said. Sources said the Bachchans had bought the plot, ostensibly to build a farmhouse.
Singh said the land registration office was now making routine enquiries before updating the records.
Sources in the Uttar Pradesh land revenue department confirmed 23 bighas had been bought from the Co-operative Housing Society in Kakori. They said the land cost Rs 3.82 crore and the Bachchans paid through cheque.
C.L. Dixit, a former president of the Lucknow Bar Association who owns a farmhouse near the plot, said he learnt about the purchase on May 21.
We all welcome the Bachchans to Kakori, he said.
As news of the purchase spread, villagers in Muzaffarpur stepped out of their homes to see the plot.
Our village will become famous, thanks to the Bachchans, quipped a farmer.
No such welcome had greeted Bachchan when he bought the plot in Barabanki district in 2006. The plot, about 35km from Lucknow, turned out to be gram samaj land, which can only be possessed by farmers.
Bachchan had bought the farmland to wangle a certificate declaring him a farmer. He needed the certificate to hold on to farmland he had bought near Pune to build a bungalow, because Maharashtra laws say such land can be sold only to Indian farmers.
The Uttar Pradesh government filed a case against the actor. Allahabad High Court later cleared Bachchan of forgery charges but he had to give up claim to the plot, which reverted to the gram samaj of Daulatpur village.
Sources in Kakori said the 23 bighas were bought over three days. On May 21, a plot measuring a little over 9 bighas was registered in the name of Bachchan.
On June 10, another plot with an area a little less than 5 bighas was registered in the name of his wife Jaya. Next day, another adjacent plot measuring a little over 9 bighas was registered.
We welcome the Bachchans here to this historic land, said Mohanlal Rawat, a local physician.