Netflix’s The Serpent, starring Tahar Rahim, Billy Howle, and Jenna Coleman, follows the lethal murder spree of French gem dealer Charles Sobhraj. The majority of Sobhraj’s murderous schemes take place while he is on the road in Asia with his girlfriend Marie-Andrée Leclerc, aka Monique, in the true-crime film. He’d lull his victims, who were usually young backpackers, into a false sense of security before drugging and robbing them. We also meet his first and former wife, Chantal Compagnon, who is renamed Juliette in the series, later on in the film. The show just goes until the authorities catch him again in 2003, so it doesn’t go too far into the future. What The Serpent fails to mention is that in 2008, Sobhraj married Nihita Biswas, the daughter of his lawyer and his translator.
Sobhraj spent two decades in an Indian jail after being convicted in 1976 for drugging French students. He spent enough time in prison after fleeing and being apprehended to avoid being extradited to Thailand, where he may have faced the death penalty. He moved to Paris in 1997 and became a free man. He was apprehended again in Nepal in 2003. Herman Knippenberg, a Dutch diplomat, discovered statements from Leclerc that implicated Sobhraj, who was sentenced to life in prison in 2004 for the 1975 murder of American tourist Connie Jo Bronzich.
While still serving time in a Kathmandu jail, Sobhraj married a Nepali woman named Nihita Biswas, his lawyer’s 20-year-old daughter, in 2008. Biswas is said to have fallen in love with him after paying him a visit in jail when he needed an interpreter. Biswas told The Times of India the year she married him that she believed he was innocent and that there was no proof against him. In 2014, he was found guilty of the 1975 murder of Laurent Carrière, a Canadian tourist.
Biswas is also known for appearing in the fifth season of Bigg Boss, an Indian reality television show in which housemates are voted out every week and the remaining person receives a cash prize. When Biswas first competed in 2011, she was the first person to be eliminated. However, she hasn’t said anything since her time on the show. Before Sobhraj’s heart surgery in 2017, she reportedly donated blood.