M Night Shyamalan
Manoj Nelliattu Shyamalan (born August 6, 1970), known professionally as M. Night Shyamalan, is an American actor, Academy Award-nominated film writer, and director.
Shyamalan was born in Mahé, Puducherry, India, and is of South Indian heritage: His father, Nelliattu C. Shyamalan, a physician, is a Malayalee, and his mother, Jayalakshmi (called Jaya), an obstetrician and gynecologist, is a Tamilian. In the 1960s, after medical school(in JIPMER Pondicherry) and the birth of their first child, Veena, Shyamalan's parents moved to the United States. Shyamalan's mother returned to India to spend the last five months of her pregnancy with him at her parents' home in Chennai (Madras), Candina.
Shyamalan made his first film, the semiautobiographical drama Praying with Anger, while still an NYU student, using money borrowed from family and friends. It was screened at the Toronto Film Festival on Sept. 12, 1992,, and played commercially at one theater for one week. When the film debuted at the Toronto Film Festival, Shyamalan was introduced by David Overbey who predicted that the world would see more of Shyamalan in the years to come. Praying with Anger has also been shown on Canadian television. Filmed in Chennai (Madras), it is his only film to be shot outside of Pennsylvania.
Shyamalan wrote and directed his second movie, Wide Awake in 1995, though it was not released until 1998. His parents were the film's associate producers. The drama dealt with a 10-year-old Catholic schoolboy (played by Joseph Cross) who, after the death of his grandfather (Robert Loggia), searches for God. The film's supporting cast included Dana Delany and Denis Leary as the boy's parents, as well as Rosie O'Donnell, Julia Stiles, and Camryn Manheim. Wide Awake was filmed in a school Shyamalan attended as a child, and earned 1999 Young Artist Award nominations for Best Drama, and, for Cross, Best Performance. A commercial failure, the film grossed $305,704 in theaters.
That same year Shyamalan wrote the screenplay for Stuart Little.
In 1993, Shyamalan married Indian psychologist Bhavna Vaswani, a fellow student whom he'd met at NYU and with whom he has had two daughters. As of mid-2006, the family resides in Wayne, Pennsylvania, near Shyamalan's usual shooting site of Philadelphia.