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Manoj Night Shyamalan



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NRI Director, M. Night Shyamalan, born Manoj Nelliyattu Shyamalan, on August 6, 1970 in Mahé, Pondicherry, India, is a writer, director, and producer of American films. His biggest commercial success was the 1999 film The Sixth Sense, starring Haley Joel Osment and Bruce Willis, which has grossed over $600 million worldwide

Birth Name: Manoj Night Shyamalan
Birthdate: August 6, 1970
Birthplace: Pondicherry, India
Occupations: Actor, Director, Writer
Quote: "My biggest fear in life is to be average." --Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine, March 8, 1999
Claim to Fame: Wrote and directed eerie blockbuster The Sixth Sense (1999)Birth Name: Manoj Night Shyamalan
Wife: Bhavna Shyamalan; married 1993
Father: Nelliate Shyamalan, cardiologist
Mother: Jayalakshmi Shyamalan, obstetrician
Sister: Veena Shyamalan; born 1964
Daughter: Saleka Shyamalan; born 1996
Daughter: born November 1999

1999: Golden Satellite: Best Original Screenplay, The Sixth Sense
Last name is pronounced SHAH-ma-lawn
As a child, he moved with family from India to Penn Valley, Pennsylvania

Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, New York, New York; B.F.A., film, 1993


Despite his making amateur movies from the age of 10, M Night Shyamalan was being groomed for a medical career by his cardiologist father and obstetrician mother. When it came time for college, the Indian-born, Philadelphia-bred aspiring Spielberg opted to attend NYU's film school rather than Penn's premed program. While his parents may have suffered some consternation, it all worked out in the end, particularly by 1999 when Shyamalan had written and directed one of the year's biggest and most surprising hits, the supernatural thriller "The Sixth Sense".
While attending NYU, the future filmmaker was determined to develop a catholic aesthetic by taking liberal arts courses. Less interested in creating a distinct visual style, he concentrated on creating rounded characters whose behavior is rooted in reality. As part of his degree requirements, Shyamalan completed several screenplays (including one which became his second produced film, 1997's "Wide Awake"). In fact, while still an undergraduate, he was attempting to put together a deal to direct that film but negotiations broke down. Instead, he turned to another idea which eventually became "Praying With Anger" (1992), a film about an Indian American who travels to Madras to explore his roots. Shyamalan took on the leading role as well as producing, writing and directing chores. Made for a reported budget of $750,000, it debuted at the Toronto Film Festival to mostly negative reviews which effectively killed a national release. One of the few particularly positive reviews appeared in DAILY VARIETY (September 22, 1992) which deemed the film "an impressively self-assured triple-threat debut".

Undeterred, Shyamalan pressed on, selling the script "Labor of Love", about a widower and his devotion to his late wife, to Fox with the guarantee that he would direct. The studio eventually balked on his helming the project relegating it to development hell. In 1995, he sold "Wide Awake" to Miramax on the condition he direct the film and that it would be shot in Philadelphia. Focusing on a ten-year-old Catholic schoolboy who embarks on a spiritual mission questioning whether his dead grandfather is being cared for by God, the script attracted well-known names like Denis Leary, Dana Delany, Robert Loggia and Rosie O'Donnell (as a nun!). Most reviewers, however, found the screenplay too coy and contrived. A few appreciated Shyamalan's earnestness but audiences stayed away and "Wide Awake" quickly was relegated to the video shelves.

While working on a 1997 rewrite of the script for a combined live action-animated version of the E B White children's classic "Stuart Little" (1999), Shyamalan also drafted the original script for "The Sixth Sense", a tidy thriller about a clairvoyant boy that became a summer blockbuster in part because of a twist ending that drew audiences back for multiple viewings. The film offered Bruce Willis a fine showcase but young Haley Joel Osment emerged as the real star. The movie's success and six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay undoubtedly served as a balm for his previous failures. It also helped that he picked up a record $5 million for his next script, the suspense thriller with supernatural overtones "Unbreakable" (2000), and another $5 million as director of the project. Clearly Shyamalan had made the right choice when he opted not to become a doctor.

"Unbreakable" was released to eager audiences in 2000 and was quickly panned by critics. Shyamalan had failed to live up to the expectations set by "The Sixth Sense" but one can't help but wonder if all the pressure led to the deflated feeling of "Unbreakable." Shyamalan sought to correct his record with the intriguing Sci-fi thriller "Signs" in 2002. Mel Gibson starred as a reverend in a small town in Pennsylvania whose farm begins producing mysterious crop circles.

His first film, a semi-autobiographical drama called Praying with Anger, was screened at the Toronto Film Festival in 1992. Shyamalan filmed Praying with Anger in Chennai (Madras). It is his only film to be shot outside of Pennsylvania. Praying with Anger was never distributed.

In 1998, Shyamalan wrote and directed Wide Awake, the story of a boy grieving for his dead grandfather. The film featured Rosie O'Donnell and Camryn Manheim, but it was a commercial failure.

In 1998, Shyamalan also wrote the screenplay for Stuart Little.
The Sixth Sense
Shyamalan achieved commercial success 1999 with The Sixth Sense. The book DisneyWar contains an account of the business dealings behind The Sixth Sense: David Vogel of The Walt Disney Company read Shyamalan's spec script and instantly loved it. Without obtaining approval from his boss, Vogel bought the rights to the script, despite the high price of US$2 million and the stipulation that Shyamalan could direct the film. Disney later stripped Vogel of the title of President of Walt Disney Pictures, and Vogel left the company. Walt Disney Pictures, apparently in a show of little confidence in the film, sold the profits to Spyglass Entertainment, and kept only a 12.5 percent distribution fee for itself.

The film had a $40 million budget, and grossed over $600 million at box offices worldwide. It is one of the twenty-five most commercially successful films of all time[2], and Disney's biggest live-action hit.

The Sixth Sense was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actor for Haley Joel Osment, Best Supporting Actress for Toni Collette, Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Original Screenplay

Unbreakable starred Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson. The film was budgeted at $75 million and grossed $95 million domestically and $248 million worldwide. Shyamalan still considers the film a failure, blaming its early release and its lack of emotion.

Opening in August 2002, Signs starred Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix. Budgeted at $72 million, Signs grossed $227 million domestically and $408 million worldwide. It was the highest grossing film of Mel Gibson's career, before he produced and directed The Passion of the Christ. It also achieved the highest opening weekend gross of Mel Gibson's career, before the The Passion of the Christ, with a gross of $60 million.

The Village

The Village was released in July 2004. It starred Joaquin Phoenix, Sigourney Weaver, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Adrien Brody.

With a budget of $60 million, the film grossed $114 million domestically ($50 million in its opening weekend) and $256 million worldwide. It also earned an Academy Award nomination for best original score.

Lady in the Water

Lady in the Water, Shyamalan's next project, is scheduled to open July 21, 2006. Heralded as Shyamalan's E.T., the film will star Bryce Dallas Howard, who also starred in The Village, and Paul Giamatti.

The earliest review for the film came from Ain't It Cool News, declaring the rough cut of the film an incoherent mess. Subsequent reviews for the film have suggested otherwise, calling it Signs-shaded and Shyamalan's best, most personal film.

Shyamalan also has an extended role as an apartment tenant.




  • The Happening Director Writer
  • Lady in the Water Director Star Screenwriter, 2006
    Budget: $70,000,000
    TOTAL LIFETIME GROSSES (through 8/17/2006)
    Domestic: $42,285,169
    + Foreign: $30,200,000
    = Worldwide: $72,485,169
  • The Village Director Screenwriter, 2004
    Budget: $71,600,000
    Domestic: $114,197,520
    + Foreign: $142,500,000
    = Worldwide: $256,697,520
  • The Buried Secret Of M. Night Shyamalan Star
  • M. Night Shyamalan: 3 Pack Vista Series Boxed Set Director
  • Signs Director Star Screenwriter
  • The Others/Signs Director
  • Unbreakable Director Producer
    Budget: $73,200,000
    Domestic: $95,011,339
    + Foreign: $153,106,782
    = Worldwide: $248,118,121
  • Stuart Little/Stuart Little 2 2-Pack Screenwriter
  • The Sixth Sense Director
    Budget: $40,000,000
    Domestic: $293,506,292
    + Foreign: $379,300,000
    = Worldwide: $672,806,292

  • Stuart Little/Trumpet of the Swan Screenwriter
  • Stuart Little Screenwriter
  • The Sixth Sense Director Screenwriter
  • Wide Awake Director Screenwriter

    Box office gross
    Praying With Anger
    Budget: $750,000
    Domestic: $100,000
    + Foreign: N/A
    = Worldwide: N/A
    Wide Awake
    Budget: $6,000,000
    Domestic: $282,175
    + Foreign: N/A
    = Worldwide: $282,175
    The Sixth Sense
    Budget: $40,000,000
    Domestic: $293,506,292
    + Foreign: $379,300,000
    = Worldwide: $672,806,292

    Budget: $73,200,000
    Domestic: $95,011,339
    + Foreign: $153,106,782
    = Worldwide: $248,118,121

    Budget: $70,200,000
    Domestic: $227,966,634
    + Foreign: $180,281,283
    = Worldwide: $408,247,917
    The Village