Born in Puducherry, India, and raised in the posh suburban Penn Valley area of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, M. Night Shyamalan is a film director, screenwriter, producer, and occasional actor, known for making movies with contemporary supernatural plots.
He is the son of Jayalakshmi, a Tamil obstetrician and gynecologist, and Nelliate C. Shyamalan, a Malayali doctor. His passion for filmmaking began when he was given a Super-8 camera at age eight, and even at that young age began to model his career on that of his idol, Steven Spielberg. His first film, Praying with Anger (1992), was based somewhat on his own trip back to visit the India of his birth. He raised all the funds for this project, in addition to directing, producing and starring in it. Wide Awake (1998), his second film, he wrote and directed, and shot it in the Philadelphia-area Catholic school he once attended--even though his family was of a different religion, they sent him to that school because of its strict discipline.
Shyamalan gained international recognition when he wrote and directed 1999's The Sixth Sense (1999), which was a commercial success and later nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. Shyamalan team up again with Bruce Willis in the film Unbreakable (2000), released in 2000, which he also he also wrote and directed.
His major films include the science fiction thriller Signs (2002), the psychological thriller The Village (2004), the fantasy thriller Lady in the Water (2006), The Happening (2008), The Last Airbender (2010), After Earth (2013), and the horror films The Visit (2015) and Split (2016).