As the much-awaited web-series Smoke has launched this month with much fanfare, actor Gulshan Devaiah finds himself missing actor Tom Alter. Alter plays the role of a Russian mob boss while Gulshan plays a Bihari gangster in this gritty and dark crime drama series set in the underbelly of Goa.
The actor's sudden passing away soon after the shoot had caught Gulshan completely by surprise. Remembering the days spent on location with the late actor Gulshan finds himself reflective. "I think there are some regrets. We were having difficulty with him - he was very temperamental. We had even complained to the director and producers at times about Tom Saheb because it seemed like he had no patience for anything. So one morning I walked up to him and spoke to him. I said to him that we - the younger lot really respected him and were thrilled to be working with a thespian like him. But I guess he was suffering, perhaps he was in pain all the way through the shoot and we didn't know until he passed away from cancer a few months after the shoot"
Gulshan believes he and the rest of the team on the set would have made the shoot more comfortable for him. They would have been more understanding if only they knew about his health. "In hindsight, I realized there were signs that something was wrong with Tom sir," recalls Gulshan. "We don't realize many times in life people around us are suffering and we don't see it because we are too busy with our own things. I feel bad. I wish I'd known he was suffering. I thought he was being difficult but I guess he was in pain, perhaps even knew the end was near."
Gulshan says for him its been a learning - as an actor who studies people for his characters and immerses himself into his work," perhaps sometimes i need to look around me and go beyond the obvious cues that situations hand out. I wish i knew Tom Alter was suffering."