Christmas lights may be the loneliest thing for me, especially if you mix them up with reindeers and sleighs. I feel alone. I feel isolated. I feel I do not belong.
Creative freedom is an imperative for me, but it doesn't really exist in a Hollywood game.
I am at home in many cultures. I live actively in three continents and I've done that for most of my life, so I just make films as I see the world, and that happens to speak to people. I do things that I want to do.
I look for the humanity in people, however big the politics or oppressive the situation may be, whether it's subsumed within a human being or between two human beings. I want to help us hold a mirror to ourselves.
I often begin movies with music in my head it's a very important dimension to me. Not just the music itself, but how to use music in film: when and how and subtlety. I don't like to be too sweet in my stories, and I like the abrasive clang, the contrasting of sounds and cultures.
I think films have to reach people and really grab them. That's what I hope to do when I make a film - to get under your skin and really make you think about something, and have a transporting time that takes you somewhere.
In America, we have so many movies and so much media about the Islamic world, the sub-continental world, but it's not a conversation, it's a monologue. It's always from one point of view. 'If we don't tell our own stories, no one will tell them' is my mantra.
It gave me a lot of pleasure and pride that 90 percent of the crew for 'Monsoon Wedding,' and most of my film, are women. We get the work done, you know, much lesser play of ego... And I really believe in harmony, I believe in working in a spirit of egolessness and that the film is bigger than all of us.
It's only at this age that I can say the word 'art' without flinching.
Marriage of attraction is a gamble anyway, so you might as well marry into a family that is similar to your own, and make that much less of an adjustment. But the 'love marriage', as it is called, is equally common in India now. But it would be interesting to do a comparison of what would work better. Marriage is hard work, and it is a gamble.
My family is almost exactly like the one in 'Monsoon Wedding'. We are very open, fairly liberal, loud people.
New York City is home to so many people from so many places and the uniqueness of it is that you never feel a foreigner. English is almost hardly ever heard in the subway. In fact, it's weird.
We have three generations at home, including my father-in-law. I keep a very low profile, and a lot of things I do are very much with the family in mind. I have actually made films with the family around me.
We have to realize only in communication, in real knowledge, in real reaching out, can there be an understanding that there's humanity everywhere, and that's what I'm trying to do.
With Vietnam, the Iraq War, so many American films about war are almost always from the American point of view. You almost never have a Middle Eastern character by name with a story.
You know, the sad thing of post-9/11, which was of course horrific, was that the city in which I felt completely at home for two decades, suddenly people like us - brown people - were looked at as the 'Others.'