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Archie Panjabi

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Archie Panjabi
Archana Panjabi

(1972-05-31) 31 May 1972 (age 52)
Edgware, London, England
Alma materBrunel University
Years active1994–present
Rajesh Nihalani
(m. 1998)

Archana Panjabi (born 31 May 1972[1]) is a British-American actress. She has had various roles in both UK and US television including as Maya Roy in Life on Mars (2006–07), Nas Kamal in Blindspot (2016–17, 2020), Kendra Malley in Departure (2019–present), and Kalinda Sharma in The Good Wife (2009–15). Her work in the latter earned her a Primetime Emmy Award in 2010 and an NAACP Image Award in 2012, as well as two further Emmy nominations, one Golden Globe nomination, and three Screen Actors Guild Award nominations shared with the cast. Panjabi is the first Asian actor to win a Primetime Emmy for acting. Other notable roles include Meenah Khan in East Is East (1999), Pinky Bhamra in Bend It Like Beckham (2002), Yasmin Husseini in Yasmin (2004), and Asra Nomani in A Mighty Heart (2007).

Early life[edit]

Panjabi was born in Edgware, London, to Govind and Padma Panjabi, both Sindhi Hindu immigrants from India.[2] Her ancestry belongs to Sindh, now in Pakistan; her parents settled in India after the Partition of India.[3][4][5] She graduated from Brunel University with a degree in management studies in 1994.[6][7][8] She is also trained in ballet.[8]

Panjabi won an Emmy in 2010 for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for playing Kalinda Sharma in The Good Wife.


Panjabi has appeared in film and television, from early appearances in the 1999 comedy film East is East to the BBC television series Life on Mars. Her first Hollywood role, as a British diplomat, was in the Oscar-winning The Constant Gardener, released in 2005. One of her highest profile film roles was in the 2002 comedy release Bend It Like Beckham. Panjabi then landed the role of witty and wisecracking office colleague Gemma in the 2006 Ridley Scott-directed romantic comedy A Good Year, alongside Russell Crowe and Marion Cotillard.

Panjabi next appeared in 2007 with Angelina Jolie in the film adaptation of A Mighty Heart, a book by Mariane Pearl, wife of the journalist Daniel Pearl. Panjabi played the role of former Wall Street Journal reporter Asra Nomani. In 2008, she played the role of Chandra Dawkin in Traitor.

She provided the voices for several characters in the British children's television animation Postman Pat.[9] She lent her voice to the video game Dead Space: Extraction. Panjabi appeared on the BBC Four World Cinema Award show in February 2008, arguing the merits of five international hits such as The Lives of Others and Pan's Labyrinth with Jonathan Ross and Christopher Eccleston. In 2009, she portrayed an MI5 agent in the French movie Espion(s), and in the same year she joined the cast of the new CBS television series The Good Wife as Kalinda Sharma, for which she won a Primetime Emmy Award. Panjabi is the first actor of Indian descent to win an Emmy award.[10][11][12][13]

In 2010, she played Saamiya Nasir in the British comedy The Infidel. On 28 May 2012, she was cast as pathologist Tanya Reed Smith in BBC Two drama series The Fall.[14] Panjabi appeared as Blaise in the BBC World Service radio series Westway. After leaving The Good Wife in 2015, she guest starred in Fox comedy series Brooklyn Nine-Nine. She joined the cast of Shetland series 3.[15]

In 2016, it was announced that she will star in ABC anthology drama series The Jury as the show's protagonist, Kim Dempsey.[16] She also joined the cast of NBC drama Blindspot.[17]

In December 2017, Panjabi commented in The Daily Telegraph on the improvement for offers of parts for actors from ethnic groups "I think there's definitely been an acknowledgement of there being a lack of diversity...".[18] In an interview with The Guardian in February 2018, subsequent to her The Good Wife success, Panjabi ruefully recalled "A US talent agent once told me an Indian woman could never have a career in Hollywood".[19] She also starred as Reece Shearsmith's third love interest, in the ITV drama The Widower, first aired in August 2019. She started on TNT's drama Snowpiercer in Season three in 2022.

In May 2021, Panjabi voiced Depa Billaba in the series premiere of Star Wars: The Bad Batch.[20]


Panjabi in The Heart Truth's Red Dress Collection Fashion Show (2011)

Panjabi was appointed the first Pratham USA Ambassador, representing the largest educational movement in India.[21] She is a celebrity participant in the Rotary International's "This Close" public service campaign to end polio.[22] In support of women's rights, she has partnered with Amnesty International to head their Stop Violence Against Women campaign to change the "no recourse to public funds" rule that traps women in a cycle of violence.[23] On 9 February 2011, Panjabi walked in The Heart Truth's Red Dress Collection Fashion Show to increase awareness of the danger of heart disease, the number one killer of women.[24] The Harvard Foundation and Office for the Arts at Harvard University invited Panjabi to participate in their Artist in Residence Program in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to share her creative process as an actress.[25][26]


Panjabi was awarded the Chopard Trophy at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007. She was nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for The Good Wife, winning in 2010. She won an NAACP Image Award in 2011 for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for the same role. She was also nominated for three SAG Awards with her co-stars of The Good Wife for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.

Personal life[edit]

Panjabi married Rajesh Nihalani, a bespoke tailor, at the age of 26.[27]



Year Title Role Notes
1995 Bideshi Joyoti Short film
1999 East is East Meenah Khan
2001 Delilah Adult Pim Short film
2002 Black Nor White Sangeeta Short film
2002 Bend It Like Beckham Pinky Bhamra
2002 Arranged Marriage Shashi Short film
2003 Code 46 Check In
2003 Cross My Heart Sumi
2004 Yasmin Yasmin
2005 Chromophobia Sarita
2005 The Constant Gardener Ghita Pearson
2006 A Good Year Gemma
2007 Flying Lessons Sharmila Italian title: Lezioni di volo
2007 I Could Never Be Your Woman Casting Girl
2007 A Mighty Heart Asra Nomani
2008 Traitor Chandra Dawkin
2008 My World Teacher Short film
2009 Espion(s) Anna
2009 Be Good Animal Adoption Officer Short film
2010 The Infidel Saamiya Nasir
2010 The Happiness Salesman Karen Short film
2013 The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby Unknown Panjabi appears in sequels Him and Her.
2014 I Origins Priya Varma
2015 San Andreas Serena


Year Title Role Notes
1994 Siren Spirits Joyoti Episode: "Bideshi"
1996 The Thin Blue Line Nazia Habib Episode: "Alternative Culture"
1997 Dad N/A Episode: "Dadmestic"
2000 Brand Spanking New Show Various 12 episodes
2001 A Mind to Kill Lamisa Khan Episode: "Colour Blind"
2001 Murder in Mind WPC Jill Evans Episode: "Vigilante"
2001 The Bill Shanaz Arad 2 episodes
2002 Single Voices N/A Episode: "Little Englander"
2002 Holby City Ali Safron Episode: "From This Moment On"
2002 My Family Dental Assistant Episode: "Of Mice and Ben"
2002 White Teeth Alsana 4 episodes
2003 The Canterbury Tales Clare Episode: "The Man of Law's Tale"
2003–2004 Grease Monkeys Rita Dhillon 20 episodes
2003–2006 Postman Pat Meera Bains, Katy Pottage and Nisha Bains
2004 Sea of Souls Megan Sharma 6 episodes
2006–2007 Life on Mars Maya Roy 2 episodes
2007 Silent Witness Amita Joshi 2 episodes
2008-2017 Postman Pat: Special Delivery Service Meera Bains and Nisha Bains
2009 Personal Affairs Jane Lesser 5 episodes
2009–2015 The Good Wife Kalinda Sharma Main role (season 1–6)
2013–2014 The Fall Professor Reed Smith Main role
2014 The Widower Simone Banerjee Miniseries
2015 Brooklyn Nine-Nine Lieutenant Singh Episode: "The Funeral"[28][29]
2016 Shetland Detective Sergeant Asha Israni Main role (series 3)
2016 The Jury Kim Dempsey Unsold TV pilot
2016 Power Monkeys Preeya Main role
2016–2018, 2020 Blindspot Nas Kamal Main role (season 2); guest role (seasons 3 & 5)
2017 Bull Arti Cander 1 episode: "The Devil, The Detail"[30]
2017 BoJack Horseman Tilda Madison Voice role; episode: "Commence Fracking"
2018 Next of Kin Mona Harcourt 6 episodes, also executive producer
2019–present Departure Kendra Malley Main role, also executive producer
2019 Still Open All Hours Jasmin Recurring role (series 6), 4 episodes
2020 Run Fiona 3 episodes
2020 I Know This Much Is True Dr Patel Miniseries
2021 Star Wars: The Bad Batch Depa Billaba Voice role; Episode: ‘’Aftermath’’
2022 Snowpiercer Asha Main role (season 3)
2023 Hijack Zahra Gahfoor Miniseries
2024 Under the Bridge Suman Virk

Television films[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1995 Under the Moon Heena
2000 In The Beginning Basya
2001 Ivor the Invisible Leila
2002 The Secret Nadia's PO
2002 Tough Love Chandra
2003 This Little Life Niala
2003 Final Demand Farida
2005 A Very Social Secretary Ashley


  1. ^ Mike Rose, cleveland com (31 May 2024). "Famous birthdays list for today, May 31, 2024 includes celebrities Clint Eastwood, Brooke Shields". cleveland. Retrieved 31 May 2024.
  2. ^ "Archie Panjabi (British Actress) Bio, Wiki, Career, Net Worth, Husband, Wife, Net Worth, Parents". Biogossipy.com. 24 November 2019. Archived from the original on 28 July 2020. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  3. ^ Kaufman, Joann (1 September 2010). "A Cultural Conversation with Archie Panjabi". The Wall Street Journal. New York City. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  4. ^ Paul, Nisha (October 2007). "Mighty Sensational". verveonline.com. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  5. ^ Ilahi, Khalid (2007). "Archie Panjabi, Exclusive chat for A Mighty Heart". eventcombo.com. Archived from the original on 10 August 2014. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  6. ^ "The Good Wife Cast: Archie Panjabi". CBS. 2012. Archived from the original on 8 January 2012. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
  7. ^ "Honorary degree for acclaimed actress Archie Panjabi". Brunel University London. 20 July 2011. Archived from the original on 16 May 2016. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  8. ^ a b "It's Evening in America". Vanity Fair. May 2012. p. 152.
  9. ^ "Archie Panjabi". The Guardian.
  10. ^ Cheng, Susan (15 September 2017). "Only 1 Asian Actor Has Ever Won An Emmy". BuzzFeedNews. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  11. ^ Shanley, Patrick (12 July 2018). "Emmys: Sandra Oh Makes History as First Woman of Asian Descent Nominated for Lead Actress in Drama Series". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  12. ^ Bradley, Laura (12 July 2018). "With a Lead-Actress Emmy Nomination, Sandra Oh Just Made History". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  13. ^ "Indian Origin Actress Archie Panjabi Wins Her First Emmy". Outlook. 30 August 2010. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  14. ^ Munn, Patrick (28 May 2012). "The Good Wife Star Archie Panjabi Cast in BBC Two's 'The Fall'". TVWise. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
  15. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (9 April 2015). "Archie Panjabi, Ciaran Hinds Trek To 'Shetland' For BBC Drama's Third Season". Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  16. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (29 January 2016). "Archie Panjabi to Star in ABC Anthology Drama 'The Jury'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  17. ^ Chavez, Danette (22 June 2016). "Archie Panjabi joins the cast of Blindspot for season two". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  18. ^ "Archie Panjabi: I hope 'Next of Kin' drama will spur debate on radicalisation". The Daily Telegraph. 30 December 2017.
  19. ^ Panjabi, Archie (3 February 2018). "Archie Panjabi Interview". The Guardian. Interviewed by Rosanna Greenstreet.
  20. ^ Cao, Caroline (4 May 2021). "Star Wars: The Bad Batch retcons a Jedi backstory that's key to Rebels". Polygon. Archived from the original on 1 January 2023. Retrieved 15 March 2023.
  21. ^ "Archie Panjabi Appointed as Pratham Ambassador". Pratham.org. 25 August 2011. Archived from the original on 14 November 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
  22. ^ "Rotary shares Polio Eradication message". rotary.org. Rotary International. Archived from the original on 15 April 2013. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
  23. ^ "Violence against women: Movie star leads battle to overturn 'unjust' UK law". amnesty.org.uk. UK: Amnesty International. 28 February 2008. Archived from the original on 4 June 2012. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
  24. ^ "The Heart Truth Event Photos". NHLBI.NIH.gov. US: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; National Institutes of Health. Archived from the original on 30 June 2014. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
  25. ^ "Archie named 'Artist in Residence' at Harvard". Ikonzmag.co.uk. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
  26. ^ "TV star Panjabi spends two days at Harvard". Indianewengland.com. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
  27. ^ Francis, Pam (8 March 2015). "Good Wife's Archie Panjabi: 'Risk is the vital ingredient that flavours success'". Daily Express. Retrieved 27 April 2016. Married at 26 to bespoke tailor Rajesh Nihalani. They have 5 dogs and 3 cats. Archie left him at home in England for her first nine months to work on the role [in TV show The Good Wife]
  28. ^ Ferguson, LaToya (5 October 2015). "Brooklyn Nine-Nine subverts expectations to keep the laughs going". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  29. ^ "(BRK-302) "The Funeral"". The Futon Critic. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  30. ^ "Bull News on CBS". CBS.com. ViacomCBS. Retrieved 6 July 2022.

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