‘The Cell’ Director Tarsem Singh Returns With First Indian Movie ‘Dear Jassi’

The filmmaker behind “Immortals” and “Mirror, Mirror” will helm his first feature since 2015’s “Self/Less”

L to R: Producers Ashwin Varde, Sanjay Grover, Rajesh Bahl, Bhushan Kumar, Vipul D Shah with director Tarsem Singh

“The Cell” director Tarsem Singh is making his global comeback with his first Indian film, “Dear Jassi,” based on a true story with plot details being kept under wraps.

Singh made his name with visually dazzling fantasy films like “The Cell,” “Immortals” and “Mirror, Mirror” but has been mostly out of action since helming the single 10-episode season of NBC’s “Emerald City” in 2017. “Dear Jassi” will be his first feature since “Self/Less” in 2015.

“It’s my passion project,” Singh said of “Dear Jassi.” “I believe this is the right time for the world to see it. Such a strong story needs to be told.”  

Singh said the synergy behind the film’s production made it possible.

“I had a great set of producers partnering with me on this film,” he said.

Postproduction is underway in Montreal after the film was shot in Punjab, India. The crew consists of a mix of Indian and international names. The script came courtesy of Amit Rai (“Oh My God 2”) with cinematography from Brendan Galvin (“Immortals,” “Self/Less,” “Rambo: First Blood” and “Plane”).   

Singh will produce the film alongside Bhushan Kumar for leading Indian studio T-Series, Vipul D. Shah, Ashwin Varde and Rajesh Bahl for Wakaoo Films and Sanjay Grover for Creative Strokes Group. 

“Dear Jassi” is slated to be released in mid-2023. 

While Singh is of Indian descent, his career path from making Hollywood biggies to locally specific tentpoles elsewhere is not unlike Renny Harlin.  

The ’90s action guru helmed “Cliffhanger” and “Die Hard 2” in America, floundered commercially with “Cutthroat Island” and “The Long Kiss Goodnight” and eventually directed the blockbuster Jackie Chan/Johnny Knoxville action-comedy “Skiptrace,” as well as the less successful video game adaptation “Legend of the Ancient Sword” in China.  

It is not quite the same thing, but “National Treasure” and “Cool Runnings” director Jon Turteltaub found fortune and glory directing the $530 million-grossing Hollywood/China co-production “The Meg” in 2018.

As Hollywood becomes more franchise-driven, with fewer opportunities for mid-budget action movies, while concurrently hiring Sundance breakouts and indie darlings over action movie vets for the director’s chair, many workman genre directors have spent the last decade working overseas or on the direct-to-consumer marketplace.