Varun Badola established himself as one of the best performers on Indian television with the introduction of cable network in the country, but many are still unaware about his flair for writing, a talent he discovered on-ground initially in his career.
Badola started his journey as an assistant director to filmmaker Tigmanshu Dhulia on his 1997 television series Naya Daur and wrote three episodes for the show.
He then moved on to acting with popular TV shows — Koshish – Ek Aashaa, Des Mein Niklla Hoga Chand and Astitva.. Ek Prem Kahani, where he also served as a writer.
“(In school), I always attempted 48 marks paper of Hindi language. I would not attempt it completely because I hated writing. But God always has a way to punish you,” Badola, 46, told PTI.
The influx of digital space gave him an opportunity to reignite his accidental romance with writing as he penned dialogues for ALT Balaji’s Apharan and Sony LIV series Undekhi.
“In terms of storytelling, writing is not easy, especially when you are not used to it. It is a good creative process, but it is time consuming. You have to be completely involved in it. It also takes a huge toll on you. I don’t think I am a full-fledged writer yet, I do it for fun,” he added.
To excel in their career, Badola believes it is necessary for actors to be in love with the craft of storytelling.
“I don’t believe an actor should stick to their own job and overlook the problems in other departments. You need to be in love with the profession you are in. I try and do everything and anything. I operate the camera and take care of the sound as well,” he said.
Badola said writing isn’t easy as one needs to be well-versed with the language as well as the culture of the area where the story is set.
“You have to read a lot so that you get new ideas and vocabulary, especially when you talk about Hindi heartland. It is a rich language and not many people realise this. People in Mumbai have aversion to reading Hindi. I don’t know why.”
The actor said he admires the way celebrated Hollywood filmmaker Quentin Tarantino takes his stories forward through dialogues and it is a quality he tries to imbibe in his writing.
“When you start writing, even as a dialogue writer, you need to design a scene. You start rhyming scenes to start a conversation in a certain manner to try and tell a story in the scene itself. This is something Quentin Tarantino does a lot. In a scene, one character will start telling a story, so you start designing scenes in a very attractive manner.”
Badola credits director Siddharth Sen Gupta for pushing him to return to writing.
The actor said the director, with whom he had worked on TV show Ek Chabbi Hai Pados Mein, first offered him Apharan and they followed it up with Undekhi.
“There is a certain comfort level I share with Siddharth. He wanted me to do dialogues for Apharan and I had not lifted my pen in 10 years. I thought I should give it a shot and then Undekhi happened. It was being handled and written by somebody else before I took over,” he said.
Undekhi, featuring actors Dibyendu Bhattacharya, Surya Sharma, Harsh Chhaya and Ankur Rathee, premiered on the streaming platform earlier this month.