“More Than a  Brilliant  Actor Tom Alter Was A Lovely Human being,” Friend , Co-Artiste Shernaz Patel mourns

“I’ve lost a dear friend . We worked together in  plays like Larins Sahib and Arms &  The Man  in the past. Then for many years we didn’t connect at all. All of a  sudden  in May this year we shot together for a short film ,Bhargava Saikia’s The Black Cat  in Bhimtalnear Nainital.

It re-connected us again.The loss is therefore much more intense.  The Black Cat is based on Ruskin Bond’s  short story and Tom  who is  a very dear friend  of Ruskin Bond, played  Ruskin Bond while I played  an evil witch. If he was  at all unwell in May he gave no  indication  of it at all. Tom was  his usual cheerful helpful kind and generous self. …I knew Tom from the time  he worked with Motley, the theatre group spearheaded by my friends Nasreeruddin Shah, Banjam Gilani and of course Tom….Tom was  always a learned theatre enthusiast and a lot of other things. His  interest was not only in cinema and theatre. He was a huge cricket enthusiast and also  lately the head of the acting department at the FTII.

And  he spoke such fluent Urdu! Imagine an Englishman with such a great command  over the Urdu language.While we were shooting the short film in May he would  keep reciting the Urdu couplets that flowed out of him effortlessly. I had to ask him to translate many of them for me(laughs)…It angers me that Tom had to go so quickly. He had so much to do and he was so useful to so many different sections  of people.And he was so sporty and healthy.He lived a disciplined healthy life and had  no vices.Why did he have to go so painfully?”

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