Tom Alter, The Perfect Man for 'Ghalib' Role: Director

Zafri Mudasser Nofil/New Delhi
Tom Alter, The Perfect Man for 'Ghalib' Role: Director
His impeccable command over Urdu and acting skills make Tom Alter the perfect choice for the director of play Ghalib for the role of the legendary poet.

M Sayeed Alam, whose Ghalib has seen 33 productions across the country, says he chose Alter for the role for three reasons.

"First Alter's Urdu is too good. He has a great command over the language. Secondly, his complexion almost matches with what Ghalib is described as and thirdly their age. Alter, who is 60, plays the role of Ghalib as a 67-year-old," Alam told PTI.

This weekend two productions of the play will be staged in Chandigarh and the national capital.

According to Alter, he also identifies himself with Ghalib on some accounts. He has been play the role of the poet since 2008.

"I love poetry like Ghalib did and yes I am impulsive like him," he said.

Alter is remembered the most for his role as a British officer in the movie Kranti and his stint on the small screen on the long-running show Junoon.

Ghalib is a lively, entertaining and educative account of the intriguing man named Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib - a master yet a rundown poet, privileged yet pitiable elite, extravagant yet poor noble, devout yet self effacing lover, irreverent yet pious husband and self-seeking yet altruistic person, said Alam.

"This is what one comes across while watching 67-year-old Ghalib narrating memoirs of his life to his first biographer Maulana Altaf Hussein Hali," he said.

Alter takes Hali and audiences to an array of scenes depicting the poet in his childhood, youth, mid-age and old age. One also gets to hear several ghazals including a good number of them hitherto unheard.

The Padma Shri winner, who plays the older Ghalib, doubles up as the anchor.

The Pierrot’s Troupe production, the theatre company headed by Alam, is credited with successfully rediscovering the genre of biographical drama with plays on Maulana Azad, K L Saigal, Begum Akhtar and Ghalib in New Delhi.

"Our company has done two plays on the legendary Urdu poet – Ghalib and Ghalib in New Delhi. Ghalib in New Delhi, a comic play which sees the poet coming to the national capital, has seen more than 295 productions till date," he said.

The company will also stage a new play on Ghalib's letters.

"However, there will be no Ghalib in this play. It is only about people to whom Ghalib wrote letters. Alter will play one of such characters," Alam said.
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