Born Country: India
Born in: India
Famous as: Psychologist, M. Night Shyamalan's wife
Spouse/Ex-: M. Night Shyamalan
children: and Shivani, Ishani, Saleka
education: New York University
Who is Bhavna Vaswani?
Bhavna Vaswani Shyamalan is an Indian-American psychologist and social worker. She is the wife of filmmaker Manoj Nelliyattu "M. Night" Shyamalan. Born in India, Bhavna spent the first year of her life in Uganda before her family, along with other Asians, was expelled from the country during the regime of Idi Amin. The family first moved to Hong Kong and then in 1986, to the United States of America. Since she was a teenager, she knew that she wanted to be a therapist. She attended New York University where she met Shyamalan and subsequently married him in 1993. Bhavna did her PhD in clinical developmental psychology and began working as a therapist. However, she soon found herself restless. Having grown up in a very religious family, she has been deeply imbued with altruistic values. In 2001, she and Shyamalan founded M. Night Shyamalan Foundation, which helps the emerging leaders from across the world in their efforts to eliminate barriers created by poverty and social injustice in their respective communities.
Bhavna was born in India. Her family members were originally Ugandan British citizens but her parents came to India to have her so that she could have a connection with the native land. They then went back to Uganda where she spent the first year of her life. However, her family was forced to flee the country during the expulsion of Asians under the regime of Idi Amin.
They first moved to Hong Kong, which was still a British colony. Bhavna’s father set up an import/export business there and she enrolled at a local school, studying under Hong Kong’s British system of education. However, her father’s business eventually went bankrupt and they decided to move to America where he had gotten a job. She was 17 years old at the time. She has three siblings, one older sister, one younger sister, and a brother.
Bhavna had wanted to be a therapist since she was 14 years old. She has stated that she was one of those kids at school to whom the other kids would tell their problems. One time, she even took in a friend of hers who had run away from home. Her older sister told her that there is a profession which can enable her to help others more. Since then, she had aspired to become a therapist.
All her siblings are still in the United States. Her father had reportedly passed away in August 2007. Her mother has since moved back to India. Bhavna often visits her although not as often as her mother would like. Her mother visits her and her siblings in the United States as well and spends time with each of her children.
You May Like
Continue Reading Below
Career, Marriage & M. Night Shyamalan Foundation
Bhavna did not get inspired by any accomplished psychologist or psychiatrist. She did not have any role model in the profession in Hong Kong either. However, it was the idea of studying the mind and human behavior that she found intriguing. She majored in psychology from New York University.
It was during her time at NYU that she met Shyamalan, who was there pursuing a degree in film studies. After they became acquainted, he went back and reportedly told his roommate that he had met the woman he was going to marry. However, Bhavna was involved in another relationship at the time. He asked her out multiple times but she said no. As a result, they started off as friends. Over the course of the following year, they formed a connection and eventually started dating.
At first, her parents did not approve of Shyamalan. It was partly due to the subject (film) he was studying and their perception of it. Furthermore, they had wanted to arrange her marriage and did not expect her to find her own partner. Eventually, they made peace with her decision.
Bhavna and Shyamalan got married in 1993 and moved to his hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Shyamalan has a deep connection with the city. Most of his films are based and shot there.
She earned her master’s degree and PhD from Bryn Mawr College and began working at a clinic in Philadelphia, where she counseled young victims of sexual abuse. In those early years, she was the main breadwinner between the two, as Shyamalan was still a struggling screenwriter and filmmaker. They have three daughters together, Saleka, Ishani, and Shivani.
Her parents, especially her mother, were deeply religious and held altruistic views. Her mother taught her children the importance of giving back to the society. Bhavna has been doing volunteer work since the age of 11. After her marriage, she continued to volunteer at various charitable organizations while doing her job as a therapist. However, she did not have a sense of fulfillment. She stopped working and in 2001, with the help of her husband, set up M. Night Shyamalan Foundation. It has supported community leaders in Africa, Asia, and North America in their efforts to improve their communities.