Kathmandu, September 30: She might have been vilified by outraged members of the public for falling in love with and marrying an alleged murderer but come October and Nihita Biswas Sobhraj, the Nepali wife of Charles Sobhraj, will show the world who’s the Bigg Boss.
The 23-year-old, who became an instant celebrity three years ago when Sobhraj — doing time in a Kathmandu prison — announced they had fallen in love, flew to New Delhi Thursday morning to take part in the upcoming fifth series of Bigg Boss.
Bigg Boss 5 is the upcoming edition of Colors TV’s controversial reality show to be co-hosted by Bollywood mega stars Sunjay Dutt and Salman Khan.
Though Colors planned to reveal the names of the show’s contestants in a special programme Oct 2, the cat was out of the bag in Kathmandu after immigration authorities recognised Nihita.
The bright-eyed journalist student became a well-known name in Nepal and beyond after claiming to have married Sobhraj, 46 years her senior, inside Kathmandu’s Central Jail. The fame turned to notoriety last year when she was convicted for contempt of court and spent a night in police custody after challenging the Supreme Court’s decision to sentence Sobhraj to life for murder.
Nihita’s family sources said that despite her earlier quick temper, that last year made her hurl abuses at the two judges hearing Sobhraj’s case inside court premises, she stands a good chance of lasting the 98 days’ trial on television as she has now learnt to control herself.
Her appearance on Bigg Boss is also bound to revive flagging interest in Sobhraj, who has been in prison in Nepal for eight years and is likely to stay there for at least a decade more after three courts found him guilty of the murder of an American tourist, Connie Jo Bronzich, in 1975.
While Nihita was initially reluctant to leave, feeling she was abandoning Sobhraj, he is said to have urged her to go, saying he would keep himself busy with a new review petition that he filed Tuesday.
Tuesday’s mandamus is directed against Nepal’s President, Ram Baran Yadav, parliament chairman Subash Nembang and the 601 members of parliament, asking them to obey the directives of the Human Rights Committee in Geneva.
The Committee has said that there was a miscarriage of justice in Sobhraj’s case in Nepal with the prosecution putting the burden of proof on the defendant and applying laws that did not exist at the time of the crime.
It also noted that Sobhraj had not been provided either an interpreter or case documents translated into languages known to him, which violated his basic rights.
Soon after the committee’s views, Sobhraj’s firebrand French lawyer Isabelle Coutant Peyre filed a case against Nepal’s government, asking for compensation to the tune of 6 million euro for illegal arrest and detention.
The mandamus petition was initially rejected by the court on the ground that it was in English and not Nepali.
On Tuesday, the 66-year-old finally managed to get it translated into Nepali and submit it through the jailer.
While he is trying to drum up support for his release through international organisations like Amnesty International and the International Committee of Jurists, Sobhraj is also seeking to establish closer contact with Bollywood in the hope of a series of biopics on his life and career in crime spanning several countries in Asia and Europe.
Sobhraj is said to be keen to open negotiations with either Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan or Sunjay Dutt and Dutt’s presence on Big Boss and subsequent interactions with Nihita could take him a step closer to his desire.
As for Nihita, the chance to feature in an Indian television reality show is a god-send for her.
After an impulsive visit to the prison in 2008 to see if Sobhraj needed an interpreter and then falling in love with him despite his chequered record, she has suffered vilification in Nepal while her mother Shakuntala Thapa, who was also Sobhraj’s lawyer, saw her legal career sag and the education consultancy they ran close down.