Archie Panjabi is an English actress popularly known for playing the role of Kalinda Sharma on CBS’s political drama series ‘The Good Wife’. She drew compliments from the critics for portraying Kalinda as one of the most sophisticated and unique characters in the television ever. She has won many awards for her wonderful performances in television series and movies such as ‘The Good Wife’, ‘A Mighty Heart’, and ‘Yasmin’. British film director Sir Ridley Scott praised her as ‘An unusual talent; she is smart and sensitive an actress to make anything fly’. After making her acting debut in the critically acclaimed movie ‘East is East’, she never looked back and eventually rose to stardom. A management graduate, she spent some of her time in childhood in Mumbai (Bombay), India and describes herself as ‘Part Bombayite, part British’. Regarding acting, she says, ‘I love roles where I have to transform myself.’ Apart from acting, Archie is very much interested in humanitarian work and contributes to the society through various international organizations.
Childhood & Early Life
Archie Panjabi was born on 31st May 1972 in Edgware, Middlesex, England to Govind Panjabi and Padma Panjabi, Sindhi emigrants from India. Her family has roots in Sindh which is in Pakistan now. Her birth name is Archana Panjabi.
She is trained in ballet dance form and wanted to become an actress from a young age. In 1996, she completed her graduation from Brunel University, England with a degree in management studies (BSc.). Later on, she was felicitated with an Honorary Doctorate of Letters.
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Archie Panjabi started her acting career in television with the series ‘Siren Spirits’, playing Joyoti. She debuted in the hit comedy movie ‘East is East’ as Meenah Khan, a rebellious and tomboyish football fan. At the Cannes film festival, the movie received a 10-minute standing ovation and in 2000, won Best film at BAFTA.
In 2004, she played the lead role in the award winning movie ‘Yasmin’ which was written by Simon Beaufoy, an Oscar winning writer. She won ‘Shooting Star Award’ for this movie at the renowned Berlin International Film Festival in 2005. She received many awards for best actress for this movie including the one she was awarded at the Reims Festival in 2006.
In 2006, she played a mischievous, witty and savvy assistant named Gemma in ‘A Good Year’, a romantic comedy directed by Ridley Scott based on Peter Mayle’s novel.
In 2007, she appeared in the movie ‘A Mighty Heart’ along with Angelina Jolie playing the role of reporter Asra Nomani. The movie was based on the true story of the Wall Street journalist Daniel Pearl.
In the British animation series, ‘Postman Pat’, she played several voice roles from 2004-06 and also voiced the characters in the video game series ‘Dead Space: Extraction’. In February 2008, she appeared on the ‘BBC Four World Cinema Award Show’ and acted as an MI5 agent in the French movie ‘Espion(s)’ in 2009.
She made a guest appearance in the show ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ in 2015 and acted in four episodes of the TV show ‘Shetland’ in 2016. Currently she is acting in the NBC drama series ‘Blindspot’ as Nas Kamal since 2016.
Archie Panjabi worked in the international blockbuster movie ‘Bend It Like Beckham’ in 2002 which was nominated for Golden Globe and BAFTA awards. She received a ‘BBC Mega Mela’ for her amazing performance in the movie.
From 2009-15, she played the famous role of Kalinda Sharma as the lead in the TV show ‘The Good Wife’. She acted in the British comedy movie ‘The Infidel’ as Saamiya Nasir in 2010 and as pathologist Tanya Reed Smith in the BBC Two drama ‘The Fall’ in 2012.
Awards & Achievements
Archie Panjabi won the best actress award at ‘The Mons International Festival’ in 2005 for ‘Yasmin’.
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In 2007 at Cannes, she won ‘The Chopard Trophy’ for her acting performance in ‘A Mighty Heart’.
For ‘The Good Wife’, she was awarded with ‘Primetime Emmy Award’ in 2010. For the same show, she received an ‘Image Award’ in 2012.
Archie Panjabi has been happily married since 1998. Her husband is tailor Rajesh Nihalani and their bond seems to be quite strong.
There was a rumored feud between Archie Panjabi and ‘The Good Wife’ actress Julianna Margulies. Archie left the show after the 6th season, shooting the season finale with a goodbye scene with Julianna. According to some sources, the two actresses shot separately for the scene which was edited afterwards.
Archie Panjabi represented the Indian educational movement as the first ‘Pratham USA Ambassador’. Along with the Rotary International, Unicef and The Gates Foundation, she took part in the international campaign for eradication of polio.
She is also involved in the ‘Stop Violence Against Women’ campaign with Amnesty International to alter the ‘no recourse to public funds’ rule for the distressed women.
She walked in a fashion show in order to increase awareness about heart diseases. She also participated in the prestigious ‘Artist in Residence’ program in Harvard University to share her acting expertise.
The famous director Ridley Scott is her big fan.
‘The New York Times’ magazine named Archie Panjabi as one of the ‘Eight Actors Who Turn Television into Art’ in one of their cover stories.
At 26, she acted as the 14 year old Meenah Khan in the hit movie ‘East is East’!