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A dream unfulfilled: Tom Alter wanted to shoot film based on his novel in Mussoorie

The film was going to be an adaptation of his first novel, Rerun At Rialto, which was published in 2001. It was a thriller set against the backdrop of a now-defunct cinema hall in the Queen of Hills.

bollywood Updated: Oct 01, 2017 00:28 IST
Neha Pant
Neha Pant
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
Tom Alter,Mussoorie,Novel
From being a journalist to a theatre actor, Tom Alter donned many roles.

Dehradun: Tom Alter, who died Friday night in Mumbai, wanted to shoot a film in Mussoorie based on his novel, a dream that will now remain incomplete. The 67-year-old, known for a sprawling body of work spread across films, theater and television, passed away at his home after battling skin cancer.

The film was going to be an adaptation of his first novel, Rerun At Rialto, which was published in 2001. It was a thriller set against the backdrop of a now-defunct cinema hall in the Queen of Hills.

“I had written Rerun…as a film script originally. When I could not make a film, I decided to turn it into a book which is very close to my heart. It’s been a long-cherished dream to shoot the film in my hometown,” the actor, a Padma Shri awardee, had told this correspondent in an interview.

The film was one of his many dream projects over the years. In 2013, he’d directed one of those – ‘Ek Fursat-e-Gunah’, a serial for DD Urdu which was set against the backdrop of Partition – in Landour near Mussoorie. It traced the story of three friends – a maulvi, a pandit and a padre (played by Alter) — based in Landour who are united by their deep love for life, Urdu poetry and their country.

“For me, this serial is my humble tribute to the Landour I knew up growing there, and the friends my parents had, from all religions and all walks of life--the true essence of Hindustan,” the blue-eyed angrez (Englishman) of the Hindi film industry had told HT.

‘My heart and soul reside here’

Alter often found himself “homeward-bound” to Mussoorie and the Doon Valley, away from the maddening rush of Mumbai, to “rejuvenate” himself. “My heart and soul reside here. I come back not only because I miss the place, but also because I want to do things here. I want to take back new freshness with me, and, if possible, give some to this place, too, through my shows here,” Alter had said.

‘Maun vrat’ for Clock Tower

Passionate about his hometown, Alter was quite vocal about issues concerning its cultural legacy. In 2010, he’d observed a maun vrat (vow of silence) for 12 hours and carried out a sit-in to protest against the demolition of Mussoorie’s iconic Clock Tower. Built during the 1930s by the British, the landmark structure was brought down by the local municipality to pave way for a new tower that continues to elude the hill town till date.

First Published: Sep 30, 2017 17:45 IST