Dear Jassi: Tarsem Singh’s first feature after eight years to have world premiere at Toronto fest

Toronto: Visual auteur Tarsem Singh’s return to films after eight years will be marked with a world premiere of his latest project, Dear Jassi, at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September.

Astill from director Tarsem Singh’s Dear Jassi, which will have its world premiere at the 2023 edition of the Toronto International Film Festival in Canada. (Courtesy: TIF)

Singh, who was born in Jalandhar, Punjab and studied in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, has directed the film, based on a true story, which will feature in the prestigious Platform section of the 2023 edition of North America’s largest film festival, which runs from September 7-17.

Singh gained renown in 1992 as his music video for the band REM’s single Losing My Religion captured multiple Grammys. He has also directed music videos for other major stars like Suzanne Vega and Lagy Gaga, other than being recognised for his work in advertising.

Platform is TIFF’s competitive programme “that champions bold directorial visions”, according to a release from the festival organisers on Wednesday.

Singh made his directorial debut in film with The Cell in 2000, which garnered an Oscar nomination. He went on to direct The Fall in 2006, Immortals in 2011, Mirror Mirror in 2012 and Self/less in 2015.

According to the industry journal Variety, Singh described Dear Jassi as his “passion project” in January this year. It was shot extensively in Punjab, while parts were filmed in Canada.

In announcing the film, which is in Punjabi and English, TIFF said, “With his first film set in India, Tarsem Singh Dhandwar (The Fall, TIFF ’06) returns to the big screen to tell the shocking true-life tale of a young couple desperate to be together.”

While the plot has not been officially released, it is believed to be based on the honour killing of 25-year-old Jaswinder Sidhu, a resident of Maple Ridge in British Columbia, in 2000.

According to the Variety report, Singh said, “I believe this is the right time for the world to see it. Such a strong story needs to be told.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Dear Jassi: Tarsem Singh’s first feature after eight years to have world premiere at Toronto fest

Anirudh Bhattacharya is a Toronto-based commentator on North American issues, and an author. He has also worked as a journalist in New Delhi and New York spanning print, television and digital media. He tweets as @anirudhb. …view detail

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