Actor, poet, sportsperson, writer and director Tom Alter has a special connect with Delhi since his childhood. The actor, who staged the play Delhi-Ciously Chekhov in the Capital earlier this month, talks about his journey as an actor and love for the city.
Born and brought up in Mussoorie, Alter reminisces travelling to Delhi on a bicycle at the age of 15, saying, “My uncle had challenged me, saying that I cannot cover such a long distance on my bicycle. My friend Paul and I took up the challenge. Also because this city has always been the centre of excitement for me and I used to come here to meet my girlfriend.”
Alter’s last play, Delhi-Ciously Chekhov, was an adult comedy, and he believes that the audience here are adaptive to different genres, adding, “I have been performing here for the past 15 years and every year the response gets better.”
Known for his significant roles in Urdu plays based on the works of Ghalib, the 65-year-old actor says “Urdu was taught to me as a child and I loved it. However, I perform in all the languages as long as the script is good. My last play was in English with a fusion of Gujarati in it.”
The actor, who is a die-hard fan of late Bollywood star Rajesh Khanna, recollects how he had even bought tickets over the counter to watch his film. “In Mussoorie, Rajesh Khanna’s film would be shown in theatre after six months of its release. It was a very long wait for me. Instead I would travel all the way to Delhi, to catch his film,” remembers Alter.
Not many know that Tom Alter has worked as a teacher in a small town of Haryana. “I was nineteen when started my career as a teacher in Haryana near Yamuna Nagar. It was later that I travelled to Mumbai to try out my luck as an actor.”