People’s favorite Tom Alter aka ‘Keshav Kalsi’ of the hit soap opera- Junoon is no more. Honoured with the fourth highest civilian award, Padma Shri, Tom Alter was a renowned actor, theatre personality, and an amazing human being. His battle with skin cancer was a hard one and he succumbed to it on Friday night. He passed away at the age of 67 due to stage four skin cancer. He even had to amputate his thumb due to skin cancer. Tom Alter is survived by his wife Carol and two children- Jamie and Afshaan. Born to American parents in Mussorie, Tom Alter was a brilliant actor, one-time sports writer and an author of three books- two fiction and one non-fiction. Tom Alter studied in Woodstock School and Yale University. Also, he was a sports journalist during the 80s and 90s.
Contribution to Indian Cinema and Television
Tom Alter was a profound actor, who acted in more than three hundred films and several TV shows. His finesse lies in his effortless acting style. Padma Shri awardee Tom Alter was best known for his prolific contribution in the field of arts and cinema. In 1976, veteran actor Tom Alter debuted in Bollywood with Ramanand Sagar’s directed Charas. A brilliant actor, Tom Alter had worked with directors like Hrishikesh Mukherjee, V Shantaram, Subhash Ghai and Manmohan Desai. Later audience was spellbound with his performance in films like Satyajit Ray’s Shatranj ke Khiladi and Maoj Kumar’s Kranti. Best known for his films like “Parinda”, Aashiqui, Kranti, Shatranj ke Khiladi, Bheja Fry, Sardar Patel. Alter had also acted in hollywood films like One night with the king and Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi. Tom Alter’s last film was with Alok Nath and Farida Jalal named “Sargoshiyan”. His powerful television performances left an indelible imprint in the hearts of his audiences. Tom Alter was best known for his hit television opera- Junoon, BharatEk Khoj, Shaktimaan, Sanvidhaan, Zabaan Sambhalke. He astounded the audience with his brilliant portrayal of historical and mythological characters.
Contribution as a theater actor
His intense acting used to have a cathartic effect on his audience. Be it through his theatre performances, films and his telvision series, Tom Alter had never failed to leave an indelible imprint in the hearts of his audiences. With his superb acting, he was an inspiration for many aspiring actors. He was an aweinspiring theatre actor, Motley Productions was his theatre group formed along with Nasseruddin Shah and Benjamin Gilani. He played Sahir Ludhianvi in a stage production and also played a school teacher in Yahan Ke Hum Sikander. Waiting for Godot was his first play, followed with several path breakingperformances. His latest performance was that of an adaptation of Vaikom Basheer’s My Grandad had an elepahant. Tom Alter’s portrayal of Mirza Ghalib and Maulana Azad won him accolades. His significant plays include- Babur ki Aulaad, Lal Kile ka Aakhri Mushiara, Ghalib ke khat, Trisanga, Teesveen Shatandi, Copenhagen alon with William’s Dalrymple’s City of Dijinns.
Writing and Books
Prolific Tom Alter has written three books- one non-fiction and two fiction- The Longest Race, Rerun at Rialto, and The Best in the World. An avid reader of Urdu, Tom Alter had lent his voice for many recordings. Tom Alter had writtenSportsweek,Outlook,Cricket Talk, Sunday Observerand Debonair.