One would imagine that meeting the person your character is based upon — if he or she is still alive and willing to meet — would be the first thing an actor would do upon bagging the role.
However, for Randeep Hooda, who plays 'bikini killer' Charles Sobhraj in the upcoming film Main Aur Charles, this wasn't possible to do as Sobhraj, now 72, is incarcerated in Kathmandu, Nepal, under heavy security. It is said to be impossible to meet the French serial killer of Vietnamese and Indian origin thanks to his penchant for escaping prison, as he has demonstrated numerous times in the past.
Now, according to a Bombay Times report, it transpires that Hooda finally managed to meet Sobhraj on Sunday for a duration of 10 minutes.
The two apparently met in the "area of mulaqat" in Kathmandu jail, where they were separated by a distance of seven feet. Hooda told BT: "He was surrounded by security and a lot of his young boys that he pampers and he was all like enthusiastic about meeting us. I thought he was so full of life, almost virile. He is still such a handsome man. Even at the age of 72, he has his aura fully intact."
Hooda had intended to present him with a poster of the film but found that not only did he have one already put up on a wall, but that he'd also seen the trailer and liked it. He reportedly complimented Prawaal Raman (the director) for making the film, saying it made him "nostalgic about his young life", according to Hooda.
While the reel Charles Sobhraj also presented him a copy of Mandela: My Prisoner, My Friend to read, his real counterpart revealed that there was a possibility that he'd be out of jail in three months. Once free, he promised to meet Hooda and Raman to relate other stories about his life.
Sobhraj, 72, is currently serving a life term at Kathmandu for murder. Widely acknowledged as a psychopath, he is said to have murdered between 12 and 24 people in the '70s, most of whom were American or European backpackers travelling through southeast Asia.
Hooda has previously spoken about how he believes Sobhraj is "innocent" and has proposed "starting a campaign to get him out".
Main Aur Charles also stars Richa Chadha, Adil Hussain, and Tisca Chopra. It releases in theatres on October 30.