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Manoj Nelliyattu Shyamalan (Tamil: மனோஜ் நெல்லியட்டு சியாமளன்), known professionally as M. Night Shyamalan, is an Academy Award-nominated American filmmaker and script writer of major studio films, known for making movies with contemporary supernatural plots that usually climax with a twist ending. He was chosen to direct the film adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender, which was released as The Last Airbender, and also cameoed in the film as a Fire Nation soldier at the earthbending prison camp.

Selected other credits

Television work


Biographical information

Though full American citizens, his parents traveled to India for his birth, giving him Indian citizenship before American. He began making home films at a young age, and clips from several of these films are included on DVD releases of his feature films, typically with an introduction where he decries the poor skill he had at the time. Though he began making films professionally in 1992, it was not until the release of The Sixth Sense in 1999 that he found mainstream success.

Shyamalan was introduced to Avatar by his children, when his daughter wanted to dress up as Katara for Halloween. His children convinced him to watch the show in late season two. He was immediately intrigued and bought the DVDs of season one, which quickly made the whole family fans of the show. His favorite character is Zuko due to the morally gray complexities of his personality.

In recent years, many critics have accused him of declining quality, with The Last Airbender having a 6% "rotten" rating on "Rotten Tomatoes".

Shyamalan wrote and prepared a script for The Last Airbender 2, despite negative criticism of the first film. A third movie was also planned.


  • 2011: Won a Razzie Award for The Last Airbender (Worst Director)
  • 2011: Won a Razzie Award for The Last Airbender (Worst Screenplay)
  • 2007: Won a Razzie Award for Lady in the Water (Worst Supporting Actor)
  • 2007: Won a Razzie Award for Lady in the Water (Worst Director)
  • 2006: Won a ShoWest Award (Director of the Year)
  • 2001: Won a FirstGlance Award
  • 2000: Won a Bram Stoker Award for The Sixth Sense (Screenplay)
  • 2000: Won an Empire Award for The Sixth Sense (Best Director)
  • 2000: Won a Golden Satellite Award for The Sixth Sense (Best Screenplay, Original)
  • 2000: Won a Nebula Award for The Sixth Sense (Best Script)
  • 2000: Won a Palm Springs International Film Festival Sonny Bono Visionary Award