Tom Alter

Profession: Actor , Guest Appearance, Supporting Actor
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  • Also Know as :- Tom Alter
  • Profession:- Actor , Guest Appearance, Supporting Actor
  • Gender :- male
  • Birthdate:- 22 Jun 1950
  • Status:- Married
  • Debut Year:- 1977
  • Active Years:- 29 Sep 2017

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Tom Alter
Indian Film History

Tom Alter’s career’s greatest movement has been a compliment from Satyajit Ray Filmmaker and special Oscar Award winner Satyajit Ray was a filmmaker who selected his actors on merit. Any actor selected by Ray, thanked his fortune to be part of a Satyajit Ray film. In the 1977, Tom Alter had the prestige of working with the legendary filmmaker in his film Shatranj Ke Khiladi. The film was based on famous Hindi novelist Munshi Premchand’s novel by the same name. It depicted the rise of British power in India, prior to Indian Mutiny of 1857. Tom played a European Caption Weston along with Hollywood actor Richard Attenborough, who played the role of General James Outram. The film had great actors like Sanjeev Kumar, Saeed Jaffrey, Shabana Azmi, Amjad Khan and others. Excelling among such great actors was a difficult task for Tom, who had experience of working in just one film Charas. But Ray was impressed by Tom’s acting and had selected him as he was aware Tom was cut out for the role of Captain Weston. Tom still recollects that after the film’s shooting, Satyajit Ray called him and complimented him for a good work in the film. Till date, Tom cherishes Ray’s compliment.

Tom Alter’s passion for sports made him quite US’ Yale University Tom Alter’s parents were American Christian missionaries of English and Scottish ancestry who spent all their life serving mankind in India. Earlier his grandparents had migrated to India from Ohio (USA) in 1916. Tom was born in beautiful Mussoorie and studied at Woodstock School. At school he had great drama teachers Frenchie and Joan Browne. Under their guidance young Tom acted in school drama and developed a passion for acting. Nevertheless, more than acting, sports was his first love. He was excellent in cricket and played for his college. Tom Alter is obliged to his parents as they never pressured him to become a part of the Missionary. Hence he was at ease to select his career. He first went to US for Higher Education to study at America’s prominent Yale University for a year. But he could not concentrate as his heart was in sports. Therefore he returned and became Sports Teacher at St. Thomas School, Jagadhri, in Haryana. Tom Alter’s transition from sports teacher to becoming another Rajesh Khanna of Bollywood When Tom Alter was enjoying his job as sports teacher, he saw Rajesh Khanna’s movie Aradhana in 1969. The movie had an amazing impact on his psyche. He saw the movie for five consecutive days. His craze for cinema increased and he began watching movies, particularly Rajesh Khanna’s. He would buy ticket in black and would watch Rajesh Khanna’s movies on the first day and first show. He saw Amar Prem, Dushman, Kati Patang etc and his craze turned into obsession. He suddenly quit his job as a teacher and a bid to become another Rajesh Khanna of Bollywood he landed at Pune’s FTII (Film and Television Institute of India).

Tom Alter and Carol Evans fell in love on film set Tom Alter met Carol Evans on the sets of the film Chamelee Memsaab (1979). The film was directed by Ajit Lahiry. Though the film was a huge flop but Tom and Carol came closer and fell in love. They married in May 28, 1977.

Tom Alter got the opportunity to work for big banner films When Tom Alter came to Mumbai after his acting course from FTII he was fortunate to get roles in Bollywood as there was a dearth of firangi or Europeans actors to play European actor in Bollywood. Thus Tom Alter initially got a majority of roles as a European as he suited ideally for European role. His first film was Ramanand Sagar’s Charas (1976) in which he played a European Chief Custom Officer, who is the boss of actor Dharmendra. The film was a huge hit and Tom was flooded with similar roles by top filmmakers like Nasir Hussain’s Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin; Dev Anand’s Des Pardes, Manoj Kumar’s Kranti, Subhash Ghai’s Karma, Manmohan Desai’s Parvarish, Rakesh Roshan’s Khoon Bhari Maang etc. While most filmmaker used Tom Alter usually in roles of European, filmmaker Raj Kapoor, was an exceptional filmmaker. He gave Tom Alter an impressive role of a village chief Karam Singh, who lives on the hills near Ganga river. He is shown as a valiant and protective elder brother of Ganga (Mandakini). He played the role superbly and since then other filmmaker noticed Tom Alter and began giving him roles other than European. Vidhu Vinod Chopra was another director who exploited the better side of Tom Alter in his film Parinda (1989). In this film he gave Tom the role of an underworld don, Musa. Tom Alter had the opportunity to work under eminent filmmaker like Shyam Benegal (Junoon), Ketan Mehta’s Sardar in which he played Lord Lord Mountbatten, Yash Chopra’s Veer Zaara, Mahesh Bhatt’s Aashiqui etc. Tom Alter tryst with TV When the TV industry was making wave and many Bollywood actors were trying their careers in TV, Tom too did few good TV serials like Betaal Pachisi, Shaktimaan, Captain Vyom, Zabaan Sambhalke etc. Tom Alter and his passion for theatre Tom Alter had passion for theatre since school days. It took shape when he along with his FTII friends Naseeruddin Shah and Benjamin Gilani launched a theatre group called Motley Productions in 1977. Tom has also been a part of a New Delhi theatre group called Pierrot’s Troupe. Among the popular plays include 'Jashn-e-Maazi (The Play of History) in which Tom portrays leading historical figures such as Maulana Azad, Mirza Ghalib, Manto, Saahir Ludhianvi, Rabindranath Tagore, Bahadur Shah Zafar, Alfred Einstein and Mahatma Gandhi. One of his sarcastic dramas is 'Teesveen Shatabdi' which takes a grave look at the atomic bomb attack in Japan. His other popular play is Once Upon A Time, a collection of five short stories. Tom Alter worked in Hollywood films Tom Alter also had the pleasure of working in Hollywood films. He worked in Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi (1982). In addition he also acted alongside Peter O’Toole in the Hollywood movie One Night with the King(2006). Besides Hollywood, Tom has worked in many regional cinema movies like Kanneshwara Rama (Kannada); Anuragakarikkinvellam (Malayalam); Adajya (Assamese); Kailashey Kelenkari (Bengali); Kevi Rite Jaish (Gujarati); Daptar - The School Bag (Marathi).

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