Bollywood bad boy Sanjay Dutt, out of jail on bail for a weapons conviction, is set to play convicted French killer Charles Sobhraj who is prison in Nepal for the murder of an American woman in the 1970s.
French national Sobhraj, who is half-Vietnamese, half-Indian, has been linked to at least a dozen poisonings, killings and robberies of backpackers across Asia in the 1970s, which led to the "Bikini Killer" sobriquet.
"Charles is a complex character," Prawal Raman, who will direct the film, told reporters late Monday.
"He is a charming man with a dangerous mind and dangerous intentions. I feel the only actor who could fit this profile in Bollywood is Sanjay Dutt."
The droopy-eyed Dutt, a one-time heavy drug user known as Bollywood's bad boy, has also done jail time, serving a total of 18 months as he awaited trial on a weapons charge related to deadly Mumbai bombings in 1993.
Last year Dutt, 46, was finally convicted of possessing illegal weapons he bought from men accused of plotting the serial blasts, which killed more than 250 people, and was sentenced to six years in jail. India's Supreme Court released him on bail in November pending an appeal against his conviction.
The film, titled
Charles and I
, will begin shooting once Dutt finishes his other projects, which include about half a dozen films that were delayed by his conviction and jailing.
"It is a great role and I am looking forward to working in the film," said Dutt in a statement Monday.
Sobhraj, 64, who was sentenced in Kathmandu to 20 years in jail three years ago, is also appealing against his conviction for the 1975 murder of Connie Joe Bronzich, a young American woman who was repeatedly stabbed and her body burned.
Thai police wanted to question him about five deaths, and Indian authorities convicted him of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and other charges, eventually freeing him in 1997 after 21 years of detention.
"The film will be action-packed, a thrilling cat-and-mouse chase spanning five countries," said Aditya Shastri, the head of People Pictures, which is producing the movie, expected to hit theatres in the middle of 2009.