Charles was born as Hatchand Bhaonani Gurumukh Charles Sobhraj to a Vietnamese shop girl (Tran Loang Phun) and a Sindhi Indian businessman (Sobhraj Hatchard Bavani) who deserted the family very quickly. Charles lived a poor life with no father, or no paternal father figure at all. He first came to France with his mother's boyfriend who was a French soldier.
Sobhraj is widely believed to be a psychopath. He was driven to murder as a means to sustain his adventurous lifestyle. This, as well as his cunning and cultured personality, made him a celebrity long before his release from prison. He enjoyed the attention, charging large amounts of money for interviews and film rights. He has been the subject of four books and three documentaries. Sobhraj's return to Nepal , where he was still eagerly sought by authorities, is believed to be the result of his yearning for attention and overconfidence in his own intellect.