Mumbai: Playing Mirza Ghalib on stage is a natural progression for Tom Alter and the veteran actor says he would love to do a film with Gulzar on the legendary Urdu poet, whose 214th birth anniversary falls tomorrow.
Alter enjoys playing Ghalib and an impeccable command over Urdu and acting skills make him the perfect choice for any director for the role.
"To be Ghalib was but a natural progression, a delightful challenge which (director of Pierrot`s Troupe) M Sayeed Alam gave me, and I love it," the 60-year-old Alter said in an interview.
But he finds it almost impossible to rate himself while playing Ghalib.
"I have seen Naseer (Naseeruddin Shah) as Ghalib, and he was amazing. So I never compare myself to anyone. I know that if I enjoy the role, the audience will enjoy me," he says.
Alter has played the role of the poet in two of Pierrot`s Troupe productions, Ghalib and Ghalib in New Delhi innumerable times.
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.
In the play he narrates the memoirs of his life to his first biographer Maulana Altaf Hussein Hali.
On the other hand, Ghalib in New Delhi is a comic play which sees the poet coming to the national capital.
He says he would love to play Ghalib on screen.
"I would love to do Ghalib with Gulzar or Vishal Bharadwaj with music by Vishal," said the actor.
His all-time favourite role is `bad man` Keshav Kalsi in the television soap Junoon.
Alter, who had played the `gora` in a number of Bollywood films, says he had never felt himself restricted to being a white man either in films or in real life.
"Even in my `gora` roles in films, I always strived to make them real and powerful and impressive, and have almost always used good Hindustani or Urdu in these roles," he says.
On his playing a white man on stage in Nahar Singh, he says, "A role has no colour, it is a role, a character. So to call a role `gora` is to belittle the role and the play and the playwright. The judge I play in Raja Nahar Singh is a man of cunning and wisdom, who has to get a job done, and he does it to the best of his ability," he said.
He also loved his role in the musical Bring Down the Walls which uses 24 songs of Pink Floyd`s `The Wall.
"It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, the play will grow and grow, and take the world by storm," he hopes.