Tarsem Singh Dhandwar (Punjabi: ਤਰਸੇਮ ਸਿੰਘ ਧੰਦ੍ਵਾਰ; born 26 May 1961), known professionally as Tarsem, is an Indian-American director who has worked on films, music videos, and commercials.
Singh at WonderCon 2011
Tarsem Singh Dhandwar
26 May 1961 (age 55) Jalandhar, Punjab, India
Film director, producer, screenwriter
Tarsem was born in Jalandhar, Punjab to a Punjabi Sikh family. His father was an aircraft engineer.He attended Bishop Cotton School in Shimla, Hans Raj College in Delhi, and is a graduate of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.
Tarsem began his career directing music videos, including those of “Hold On” by En Vogue, “Sweet Lullaby” by Deep Forest and R.E.M.’s smash hit “Losing My Religion”, the latter of which won Best Video of the Year at the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards. He has directed dozens of commercials for brands such as Nike and Coca-Cola. Tarsem’s feature film directorial debut was The Cell (2000), starring Jennifer Lopez.
In 2003, Tarsem directed one of the most elaborate Pepsi commercials to date. It combined a gladiator theme with Queen’s “We Will Rock You”. The commercial starred Enrique Iglesias in the version of the commercial aired in Europe and North America and Amr Diab in the version aired in the Arab world. In the western version, Iglesias plays the role of an emperor hoarding Pepsi with Britney Spears, Pink, and Beyoncé Knowles all playing similar roles of gladiatrices about to engage in combat for the emperor’s and crowd’s entertainment. Ultimately the gladiatrices turn against the emperor and throw him from his seat. On the other hand, Diab’s version shows the gladiatrices being attacked by a lion after the emperor realizes their intentions.
Tarsem’s second film, The Fall, debuted at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival and was released theatrically in the United States in 2008. His third film was 2011’s Immortals. He directed an adaptation of the Brothers Grimm story of “Snow White”, called Mirror Mirror (2012).