On the one hand we have a criminal, a French national of Indian and Vietnamese origin, assumed to have murdered up to a dozen western tourists and now languishing in a Nepalese prison. On the other, we have the top Bollywood bad boy, picked to play a role not too far removed in content from the life of the criminal concerned.
Following media reports suggesting that Sanjay Dutt’s new movie Charles and I is based on the life story of Charles Sobhraj, the ‘bikini killer’ has instructed his French lawyer, Isabelle Countant-Peyre, to write to the producers, People Pictures, asking for a contract or threatening to sue for libel if they didn’t. People Pictures rejected the bid out of hand describing it as extortion and claiming that the movie was not based on Sobhraj’s life at all.
The life of Charles Sobhraj has been colourful to say the least and would make an excellent movie – even if, the Sanjay Dutt movie has no connection with it. Nicknamed the Snake because of the ease with which he seems able to slide out of trouble, he is accused of up to 12 murders between 1976 and 1997 by luring tourists along the old hippie trail to Nepal. He did this; it appears, to finance a luxurious lifestyle of adventure. It was a natural extension to a crime spree that had begun in the sixties with Raffles-style robberies, mansion burglaries and car thefts.
Always a smooth talker and attractive to women, 64-year-old Sobhraj recently announced his engagement to 20-year-old Nepalese beauty Nihita Biswas, whilst he considers his appeal against the life sentence he is currently serving.