In our house we say 'adolescence' is a western word. We don't believe in it.

I want to question what the outside is and who defines it. I often find those that are considered to be on the outside extremely inspiring.

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.

India somehow constantly rivets and inspires me, and I feel very relieved to have come from this country which has a very 'lifeist' approach to living fully, no matter what one has or doesn't have.

For seven years, I made films in the cinema verite tradition - photographing what was happening without manipulating it. Then I realised I wanted to make things happen for myself, through feature films.

I think I am kind of put on this Earth to speak of being between worlds in my films.

Every film is a political act; it's how you see the world.

Either you're this, or you're that: either you're - if you're a Pakistani, you're a terrorist; if you're an American, you might be a militarist. Those kind of prisms that we see each other through are really stultifying, and they don't often show the complexity and the incredible warmth and encompassing of the world.

No one goes to Pakistan to make movies. You stick out.

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.

I'm a self-taught landscape gardener; it's a real passion of mine. It's what I do in my spare time because trees don't ask questions!

I am actually a resident of three worlds - of America, of India, and of Africa. I live in Uganda most of the year. It's extraordinary to have that worldview that is an expansive one rather than just looking at the world from where you sit.

I dream of living off the land completely - in vain, because the monkeys eat everything.

I always like to reveal the fact that the emperor has no clothes. And children are best at that. They teach us how to see the world in that sense. They are without artifice; they see it for what it is. I am drawn to that ruthless honesty.

I'm the bullheaded type, and I really don't give up if I fall in love.

Americans are not used to being bombed in their beds, but if you come from anywhere outside America, it's not highly unusual.

I think, in terms of activism associated with my films, be it 'Salaam Baalak Trust' or 'Maisha,' taking the idea of cinema as a way to change people, I feel heartened. I am glad that we have impacted thousands of lives.

I think there's a level of ignorance, when, in the callowness of youth, you imagine that you are inventing the world for the first time. You imagine that your parents don't know what it feels like to fall in love.

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.

My family is almost exactly like the one in 'Monsoon Wedding'. We are very open, fairly liberal, loud people.

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.

'Salaam Bombay' didn't put a halo on the poor. Instead, it said that they will teach us how to live.

You've got to understand that in Bollywood, every actor is an instrument, and yet a human being. They come to the set with a set agenda, believing, 'This is who I am, this is what I want, and no, I am not going to become that character you want me to.'

There's nothing universal about Indian families except that the family itself is deeply important across the country. It's sort of the fabric and anchor of our country.

Humility is not a trait I often associate with America.

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.

In Uganda, I am surrounded, unfortunately, by evangelicals; I can't bear it. Every night I hear the chants of Baptists urging people to be born again.

We want the diversity of the world that is around us represented both in front of and behind the camera, and on our screens as a result.

Truth is more peculiar than fiction. Life is really a startling place.

As the director of a film, as the story teller, you have to keep your voice alive.

My films, no one else will do.

When people break up, after sharing their entire souls with each other, I don't want to believe that you just switch off. There are remnants of melancholia, and there is so much that stays with you because you loved this person. Of course, it's that much more complicated when it's an interracial love or love from a person from another culture.

From Vietnam's 'Deer Hunter' to Iraq, films are never about the person who has had his house destroyed.

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.

It is shocking that the screen does not reflect the way the world is and the diversity in the world... What the world really looks like should be on screen, and it isn't.

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.

I am Indian, and my home is Kampala. My world is already diverse. But films are financed by those who want to see themselves on screen, and it is a white male world. Still, it does feel like America is waking up. Let's hope it's the start of an avalanche.

Life is short, so I'm knowing exactly where I'm putting my time. I don't want to do things that I don't have to do.

You have to want to be in the company of those you're making films about.

What's nice about what we have is when you enter the set, the world of film, it becomes this real cocoon, very different from all the publicity. That's the fun part.

I listen to music deeply and seriously for at least an hour or two a day.

The film itself should interact with the audience. In the case of 'Queen of Katwe', people are laughing, sobbing and dancing. I am taking them on a ride... It is not like I am asking them for handouts.

I'm inspired by people that are marginal. I'm excited by their resilience.

A lot of us feel that we are against the war; we are against profiling and are against what is happening. We are tired of war in every manifestation. American people do not all believe in what the government has been doing.

I am an independent film-maker first and foremost. I have always cut my own cloth.

I grew up in a small town in India, but through books I knew the world.

My close friends call me the bulldozer who never says no. I have never not made a film.

The dignity of everyday life - the beauty of it, the attitude of it - is what I live around. And it is never on screen, and it is certainly never associated with Africa. If we see Africa at all, it is always used as a backdrop: a big blob of a continent rather than a specific street or a country or a place.

We never see the fancy schools with the blazers and ties in films about Africa! But, in fact, we too have class and elitism.