Kranti to Aashiqui to Gandhi: Tom Alter’s best remembered performances | Bollywood - Hindustan Times

Kranti to Aashiqui to Gandhi: Tom Alter’s best remembered performances

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By
Sep 30, 2017 04:14 PM IST

In his more than 40-year-old career, Tom Alter played a variety of roles. However, he will be remembered for playing British officials. What many wouldn’t know is that he has appeared in many desi avatars too.

Tom Alter died in Mumbai on Friday after battling stage four cancer. With a career spanning over forty years, Tom was an actor par excellence who excelled both on the silver screen and the theatre. In his passing away, India has lost one of her finest exponents in the craft. A Film and Television Institute trained actor, his stage performances as Maulana Azad and Mirza Ghalib will remain etched in the minds of millions of his fans.

Tom Alter as Keshav Kalsi in the TV serial Junoon.
Tom Alter as Keshav Kalsi in the TV serial Junoon.

From Gandhi to Junoon, Indian cinema lovers will remember him for years to come. A fine actor, who could easily adapt to cinema and the stage, here’s looking at some of his best film performances.

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Appearing in a blink-and-miss role in Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi, Tom Alter played the prison doctor attending Mahatma Gandhi and Kasturba Gandhi. It may have been a small role, but it was noticed, at least by many of his Indian fans.


The 1981 film Kranti, directed by Manoj Kumar, too featured Tom Alter where he appeared in the role of a British officer. Kranti was set in 19th century British India and dealt with the struggle for independence.

Shatranj Ke Khiladi

In the film Shatranj Ke Khiladi (The Chess Players) directed by Satyajit Ray, Tom again appeared in a small role as Captain Weston, the aide de camp of a British officer General James Outram, played by Richard Attenborough (Gandhi’s director). This 1977 film was based on a short story of the same name by Hindi writer Munshi Premchand.


Often typecast as an English police officer or a doctor, Tom Alter plays a warden of a girls’ hostel in Mahesh Bhatt directed 1990 superhit film, Aashiqui. As the strict warden who won’t let the lovers, Rahul (Rahul Roy) and Anu (Anu Aggarwal) meet, Tom playing Arnie Campbell was disliked by all who saw the film then. Of course, it was his win as an actor.


In Paresh Rawal starrer Sardar, Tom Alter played Lord Mountbatten in a biopic on the ‘iron man’ of India.

Ram Teri Ganga Maili

In the Raj Kapoor directed Ram Teri Ganga Maili, Tom played the elder brother named Karam Singh to Ganga, the lead character in the film, played by Mandakini.


In the movie Sultanate, starring Dharmendra, Sridevi, Juhi Chawla and Sunny Deol, Tom Alter plays an Arab.

Junoon (TV)

Junoon, the hit TV serial of the 1990s on Doordarshan, saw Tom Alter play a baddie -- he starred in the long-running serial as Keshav Kalsi, a don.

Shaktimaan (TV)

The immensely popular children’s TV serial Shaktimaan (Mukesh Khanna) featured Tom Alter as Maha Guru, the man who was Shaktimaan’s friend, philosopher and guide.

Apart from Hindi film, Tom Alter starred in a number other films such as Anuragakarikkinvellam (Malayalam), Daptar - The School Bag (Marathi), Kailashey Kelenkari (Bengali) and Adajya (Assamese).

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