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Night Shyamalan may shoot in Pondicherry

October 10, 2003 14:44 IST

Has M Night Shyamalan succumbed to pressure from 20th Century Fox? Will he soon head for Pondicherry, where he was born?

According to Hollywood Reporter, the filmmaker is abandoning Disney -- even if it is for just one movie -- to adapt the Booker Prize-winning and best-selling novel Life Of Pi by Yann Martel.

Fox picked up the rights to the novel, which is seen as one of Hollywood's hottest screen properties, last year.

Disney has backed Shyamalan's last five films, including The Woods, which he is now shooting around Philadelphia, where he grew up.

If negotiations for Life Of Pi prove successful, this will be the second time Shyamalan will shoot in India. His first and little-seen film, Praying With Anger, was shot in India. It will also be the first time he will work on someone else's story. And it will be the first time since his second film, Wide Awake,
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that he will shoot outside Philadelphia. 

Shyamalan, who recently donated $1.5 million to the neighbourhood in Philadelphia where he shot The Sixth Sense, might shoot a few sequences for Life Of Pi in his hometown. 

The book revolves around the son of a zookeeper, Pi Patel, who has an encyclopaedic knowledge of animal behaviour. When Pi is 16, his family migrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals, bound for new homes.

The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone on a lifeboat. His only companions are a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger.

Soon the tiger has killed all but Pi, whose resourcefulness and sharp mind saves him.

When they finally reach the coast of Mexico, Richard Parker flees to the jungle and the Japanese authorities refuse to believe Pi's story. They demand  'the truth.'

Coerced, Pi tells a much less fantastical story.

The book received critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic.
'The material is very challenging and Night is a filmmaker who is always looking for new challenges,' Elizabeth Gabler, president of the Fox 2000 unit, told Hollywood Reporter.

'There are also some similarities to Pi Patel and Night. Pi is an immigrant child who left his homeland and found his way to a new country, and Night was also a boy who left India and found his way to this country. He saw it as a way to explore a completely new challenging realm,' she added.

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