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PRAMEET NARULA CHOUDHARY
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chat The indefatigable Tom Alter on the several roles he has played, in life and on stage

LIFE'S A STAGETom Alter in GhalibPHOTO: PTI
LIFE'S A STAGETom Alter in GhalibPHOTO: PTI

Aman of many shades, the blue-eyed thespian walked through a packed hall, rising with poise to the stage in front. Meet Tom Alter, who played God in When God said Cheers recently.

“I’ve been doing theatre since 1979, but right now I’m doing about 20-odd plays which I keep doing around the country and internationally too,” says the 62-year-old actor, dressed in a casual brown jacket and a muffler thrown over carelessly. “Also, I’m directing two plays of my own by the name of Trisanga and Yadi – a play on Gandhiji,” he adds.

A native of Mussoorie in Uttarakhand, Tom is deeply rooted to India and is often referred to as the ‘blue-eyed sahib with impeccable Hindi’. “India is my home. I was never a stereotypical ‘white-man’ in real life. Whatever you are in real life eventually gets portrayed in your art. And when people realized that was not what I was, I got tremendous roles to play both in cinema and theatre,” he said. He has an affinity for Urdu poetry as well which is evident in his well-received plays – Maulana Azad and Mirza Ghalib .

Talking about Cheekha , his latest production where he plays the role of a monk, Tom says the film was one of the finest of his career. “ Cheekha is a musical ballad, a story of a mysterious old man (Cheekha) who made erotic sounds for a prostitute, lying confined under the bed of the woman. A monk, played by me, travels from the Himalayas to unfold the secret life of the prostitute and her slave named Cheekha who could sing like a bird, hum like a bee and cry like a woman in the deepest throes of desires,” he says.

Busy writing books and penning scripts himself, Tom Alter believes in living his roles, as he lives life!

PRAMEET NARULA CHOUDHARY

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