Early Life of Tom Alter
Tom Alter was a native of Mussoorie in the state of Uttarakhand and was born to American Christian missionaries of English and Scottish ancestry. For years, he dwelled in Mumbai and the Himalayan hill station of Landour. Tom had studied Hindi in his childhood when he was often referred to as the "Blue-eyed saheb with impeccable Hindi". Rajesh Khannawas his biggest inspiration for entering the film world. He also studied at the Film and Television Institute of India.
Career of Tom Alter
Before stepping into the world of cinema, Tom Alter used to work at St. Thomas school in Jagadhri, Haryana, as a sports teacher. For over a decade, he contributed to popular journals and newspapers as a columnist which attracted numerous readers. He got his big break in the Dev Anand starrer Saheb Bahadur, directed by Chetan Anand. However, his first release was Ramanand Sagar's Charas. Tom Alter has worked with renowned filmmakers like Satyajit Ray in Shatranj Ke Khilari. His portrayal of a British officer in the movie Kranti made him very popular. His other movies include Bheja Fry, Veer Zaara, Asambhav, Dhund: The Fog and many more. In 1996, he appeared in the Assamese film Adajya and in 2007 acted in William Dalrymple’s City of Djinns alongside Zohra Sehgal and Manish Joshi Bismil. In April 2011 he acted in a short film Yours, Maria directed by Chirag Vadgama, playing the lead role of Matthew Chacha in the movie. He also voiced for the authorised audio character of Dr. Verghese Kurien, titled The Man Who Made the Elephant Dance, which was released in 2012. Some of his most famous movie roles have been as Musa in Vidhu Vinod Chopra's acclaimed crime drama Parinda, Mahesh Bhatt's blockbuster romance Aashiqui, and Ketan Mehta's Sardar, in which Alter essayed the role of Lord Mountbatten, which was based on the biography of Indian leader Sardar Patel.
Apart from Bollywood movies, he has also worked in television shows. His acting skills in the 10 part mini-series Samvidhaan, was well received and praised by the audience. He acted in 2014 TV series Kahmosh sa Afasana, which continued for a year. Alter also played characters like a school teacher and the infamous red robed guru in Yahan ke Hum Sikander and Shaktiman respectively. He was also the sadistic mob lord Keshav Kalsi in the long running Junoon.
Tom Alter has also authored several books such as The Best in the World, Rerun at Rialto, The Longest Race and many more. He also worked as a sports journalist and wrote especially in the field of cricket. He has also written in publications like Debonair, Sunday Observer, Cricket talk, Outlook and Sports week. Tom has also played for the film industry cricket team MCC (Match Cut Club) along with Amarinder Sangha, Bhupinder Singh, Nana Patekar, Aamir Khan, Vishal Bhardwaj, Satwish Shah and Naseeruddin Shah. He had also written in various Indian publications, about cricket. He was invited by his friend Siraj Syed in 1996 to Singapore for doing Hindi cricket commentary on the sports TV channel, ESPN for Indian viewers. The actor also appeared in Assamese language film Adajya. His acting received critical acclamations through his performance in theatres too. In the year 1977 he had formed a theatre group with Benjamin Gilani and Naseeruddin Shah which came to be known as Motley Productions. Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot was their first play which was staged at Prithvi Theatre.
Personal Life of Tom Alter
Married to Carol Evans, Tom Alter had two children, a son named Jamie and a daughter named Afshaan. In September 2017, he was diagnosed with Stage IV skin cancer and passed away on 29th September at his residence in Mumbai.
Filmography of Tom Alter