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Shyamalan, UTV to make The Happening

March 15, 2007 14:50 IST

Hollywood director M Night Shyamalan will collaborate with UTV and Fox studios for his next film, The Happening. The film will be jointly produced at a cost of $57 million.

This is the first time that the Pondicherry-born director will work with an Indian company.

"The Happening is a global film and will highlight the environment issue," said Shyamalan in a video conference from his home in Philadelphia. The film will focus on the earth versus man battle, and portray the environment as the victim of mankind's villainy. It is slated for a July 2008 release.

"I want you to be afraid of this film," Shyamalan added.

The director shot into the big league with the brilliant horror film, The Sixth Sense, following it up with thrillers like Signs and The Village. However, his career took a downturn after his last film Lady In The Water bombed at the box office. Shyamalan also won 'worst director' at the 2006 Razzie awards.

Asked how he coped with the failure of Lady In The Water, Shyamalan replied, "I will not use the word 'failure.' It's too harsh. The film was precious to me and time will prove the others wrong. I feel happy and strong about my film.

"There are artistic ventures which are risky," he continued. "And my job is to be brave and take those risks. I want to be brave and make films. Success is a tricky thing and your other movies get burdened by your success."

It was reported earlier that Hollywood studios were not ready to finance his future films and also demanded script changes in his films, which Shyamalan refused to do.

Explaining why he decided to co-produce the film with UTV, Shyamalan said, "The business model in Hollywood is changing. They want to make 20 films instead of 10. It is an interesting concept. The studios prefer to co-produce movies because it lets them spread their risks. They can make double the movies with the same amount of money."

Shyamalan also said he had rarely followed Bollywood films, and is still undecided about casting Indian actors in his films.

"Recently, I saw a film with Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol. I think it was Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, and I loved it. They expressed their emotions beautifully. It is a different kind of acting. When I watch those films, I get emotional. I also start weeping," Shyamalan joked.

Ronnie Screwvala, UTV, chief executive officer, said, "Night is an immensely talented writer and director. I have followed his work closely and admired it."

Asked why he was doing a film with Shyamalan, when Hollywood studios were not willing to work with him, Ronnie replied, "After Aks, people said the same thing about Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra. We believed in him and he made Rang De Basanti, which became a big hit. I have experienced that people do very well when they are down. They come back and make it big by improvising themselves."

Syed Firdaus Ashraf