Varun Badola, who was last seen in the sitcom Gili Gili Guppa more than a year ago, is back on the small screen with Zee TV's new show Phir Subah Hogi.
Varun plays the role of Thakur Vikram Singh in the serial that is based on the Bedia tribe of Madhya Pradesh.
"I was fascinated after reading the concept of the show. It's a fresh subject that's never been seen on television. I hope through this show we will be able to shed some light on exploitation of women and bring a ray of hope to those caught in similar circumstances," he says.
The Bedia tribe follows the custom of sar dhakai, which permits wealthy thakurs to have a mistress. Vikram Singh doesn't believe in it. However, in order to save a girl, he is forced to do it and eventually falls in love with her.
The actor who has in the past played significant roles in Koshish Ek Asha and Astitiva Ek Prem Kahani is taking his role here seriously. "There has to be a certain power and grace coupled with idiosyncrasy so that the character doesn't become uni-dimensional," Varun says of his role.
The story may be set in rural Bundelkhand but Varun doesn't think that will stop urban audiences from appreciating it. "Didn't Balika Vadhu, which dealt with a peculiar regressive custom (child marriage) related to one particular state (Rajasthan), resonate across the country?" he asks.
On a more personal note, he explains that his one-year break from television was because "I don't relate to saas-bahu sagas. They don't excite me. I take up projects that generate some interest in me. I can't do everything and anything just to be seen on television."
So, what did he do during this period?
"I was happy playing cricket. I am a huge cricket fan. I wanted to become a cricketer but could not pursue my dream because then it was impossible for a middle-class boy to work hard on his dream. But I have played under-15 cricket in school with cricketers like Ajay Jadeja and Murali Kartik," he says.
His last television appearance was in Gili Gili Guppa on SAB TV, "which unfortunately did not work. SAB TV had launched a number of new shows in 2011 and most of them did not click."
Better luck this time round.