Saturday, February 11, 2012

Archie Panjabi, East meets West

Archie PanjabiArchana 'Archie' Panjabi has shared screen time with some of the biggest names in international cinema, but yet she defines her own space clearly. From her early days as the tantrum throwing bride-to-be Pinky Bhamra in Bend it Like Beckham, to her portrayal of Asra Nomaniin A Mighty Heart, to Ghita Pearson in The Constant Gardner, Panjabi's career graph has taken her far and wide. Widely recognised as one of the most successful Indian-origin artistes abroad, Panjabi is modest about her success,"I am very grateful to everyone who has given me a chance and who believed in me." As Kalinda Sharma, a private investigator in The Good Wife, Panjabi has received critical acclaim, winning herself a Primetime Emmy. Here she chats exclusively with Yahoo! India..

What is it that connects you to India?

So much of India is a part of me; my heritage, my family and friends. 
What does India represent for you?

India embodies such a beautifully rich and diverse culture.  I spent a few of my childhood years living in Mumbai.  I cherish the memories and return every chance I get.  The people, the warmth, the hustle & bustle, it’s in my soul now.

Do you still celebrate Indian traditions?  Absolutely!  My family welcomes any opportunity to celebrate.  It’s a great excuse to spend time with loved ones.

What is it that keeps you motivated?As an actress, I would say the wealth of stories still to be told. 

When the going gets tough, what is your mantra?“The journey is the reward.”

What made you choose this profession?I’ve always been fascinated by people; their gestures, accents, body language, all of it.  To completely (and convincingly) transform and immerse myself into the heart and soul of a character is so challenging and exciting.  It’s the very reason I wanted to become an actor.

What about being an actor/celebrity have you found the most challenging?I would say working to fulfill other people’s expectations, the responsibility attached and the charge to use it wisely. 

Having done so many roles over the years, where you’re often cast as an Indian, does it echo your own life, in any way?  To date, I’ve found the Indian roles I’ve played have been incredibly instrumental in furthering my personal exploration of cultural identity.  I am proud to be Indian but I am equally proud to have had the opportunity to play characters from differing cultural backgrounds. I’ve learned so much about myself and others in the process. 

Looking back, what would you rate as your biggest achievement?Receiving an honorary doctorate from my alma mater Brunel University this past year.  As a child, my Mother said she would just love for me to become a doctor.  And now, in theory, I have!

Who was it that first recognized your potential?When I was about twelve years old, I entered a local drama competition in the UK where I won the “Versatility Cup” an award given to a young actor the jury believed stood out in the competition.  It was then I began thinking maybe I could actually make my dream of becoming an actress come true.

Who do you consider your biggest inspiration in life?Individuals who makes a difference in the lives of others with no motive, intention or hope of acknowledgement.  Silent heroes have the loudest voice to me.

If you weren’t doing what you do, what would you be doing?I’ve trained as a dancer, I’ve studied management and I’ve always wanted to direct.   So either one or all 3!

Are you a big Bollywood fan? Any favorites?  Completely.  Amitabh Bachchan is truly outstanding. My favorite all time Bollywood films are Don and Amar Akbar Anthony.  Paresh Rawal is also brilliant in Hera Pheri, Phir Hera Pheri and Chup Chup Ke.

Are you the Good Wife?You would need to ask my husband that!

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