Emraan Hashmi or Saif as Charles Sobhraj?

Emraan Hashmi or Saif as Charles Sobhraj?
By Subhash K Jha

Producer Kumar Mangat whose last two films Pyaar Ka Punchnaama and Bittoo Boss have spotlighted fresh talent, is all set to do the unthinkable. He will now produce a film based on the life and alleged crimes of Charles Sobhraj.

The film which will be a mega-budget adventure thriller will be budgeted at Rs 40 crores.

Earlier a Charles Sobhraj bio-pic directed by Prawaal Raman (whose brilliant thriller 404 last year made quite an impact) with Sanjay Dutt in the lead all but made it to the floors. But then it was pulled out for practical reasons.

Dutt, it was felt by his well-wishers, had played the gangster once too often and needed to play characters on the right side of the law. It is no coincidence that Dutt plays a cop in his next two releases.

Kumar Mangat’s son Abhishek Pathak who will officially produce the film, surprises us by confessing that this is the same project Prawaal Raman once planned with Sanjay Dutt.

Says Pathak, “We saw the vast research that Prawaal has done on Sobhraj and we did our own research too. We’ve now pooled our information together and Prawaal whom we find to be a very gifted storyteller, will be directing the bio-pic. ”

Pathak admits Sanjay Dutt can no longer play Sobhraj. “We’re looking at Emraan Hashmi or Saif Ali Khan. ”

Regarding the rigorous research and the ensuing legal wrangles that Prawaal Raman’s project on Sobhraj had gotten into when it was being planned with Sanjay Dutt, the architects and brains of the revived project have discovered a way out of the legal tangle.

They would not officially declare it to be a Charles Sobhraj bio-pic, but a film inspired by certain incidents in Sobhraj’s life.

Says Prawaal Raman, “We’ll probably get rid of the original title Charles and call the film Jailbreak. Because that is the aspect of the story that interests me at this point of time.

Sobhraj’s 1986 jailbreak from Tihar would be the core of the film. The film is based on Sobhraj’s jailbreak. It will definitely be inspired by the famous incident. But I’m not interested anymore in making a bio-pic on Sobhraj. ”

Prawaal is more taken up by the police officers who who hunted down Sobhraj. “I find the cops involved in the arrest namely Mr Amod Kanth and Mr Madhurkar Zende far more inspiring than Sobhraj. So there will be three main male characters in Jailbreak A man who spent 40 years of his life in prison doesn’t really interest me to base an entire film on him. ”

Prawaal says he has done an “emotional photo-shop” with Sobhraj’s life-story. “My protagonist would be a sharp enigmatic criminal, too clever to be caught by the authorities. ”

Whether Sobhraj would be happy with this tweaked glorified avatar of his real self remains to be seen.