By Radhika Bhirani
Veteran theatre and film personality Tom Alter, 67, is battling stage four skin cancer at a Mumbai hospital, his son said on Monday.
Upset over "factually incorrect" stories about his father suffering stage four bone cancer, Jamie told IANS over phone: "It is what is called a squamous cell carcinoma (a type of skin cancer). It is a relapse of the same thing which had happened last year and unfortunately, for various reasons, it was not detected at that time and has come back."
Last year, Tom Alter had to get his thumb amputated due to the condition.
Now, he is in stage four, Jamie said.
Tom Alter has been admitted for a week in Mumbai's Saifee Hospital.
"He is fighting it well. He is showing the will to battle it out," Jamie said, adding: "He is under the best care possible. Various doctors across the country are in consultation. As a family, we are very happy with the treatment he is getting.
"His bodily functions are absolutely fine. The doctors are very happy with that. The past one week has gone in getting him in a state of physical strength, whereby the doctor is able to start the next round of medication."
Jamie said the family wants privacy in the matter.
"We will be releasing statements to the media as and when things happen."
Known for starring in television shows like Bharat Ek Khoj, Zabaan Sambhalke and Betaal Pachisi, Tom Alter is an American-origin actor settled in India. He has had a flourishing career on stage, and on the big screen he has played pivotal roles in successful films like Gandhi, Shatranj Ke Khilari, Kranti, Aashiqui and Parinda.
In 2008, he was recognised with the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian honour of India.
According to Bhargav Saikia, director and producer of Tom Alter's short film The Black Cat, the actor was invited to a special screening of the film in Mussoorie last week. However, he couldn't make it due to his condition.
Tom Alter as Ruskin Bond; The Black Cat/Facebook
Tom Alter features as author Ruskin Bond in the film, and Saikia said he missed him a lot during the movie's screening, which was held at the historic Parker Hall of Mussoorie's Woodstock School, the actor's Alma Mater.
Wishing to see him back in action, Saikia told IANS over phone: "I met him last in July. He was fine, and his health was okay. He was working on a theatre production and was also doing some serial.
"We were last in touch in early August via email. But when I emailed him towards end of August to invite him for the Mussoorie screening, I didn't receive any response. That's when I got to know through his manager about his hospitalisation. It is very unfortunate."
(Radhika Bhirani can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)