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Omid Djalili


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John Simm


Angelina Jolie


Russell Crowe


Ralph Fiennes


Penélope Cruz


Stephen Rea

Archie Panjabi Biography


Home > Actresses > P > Panjabi, Archie > Biography


Birth Name: Archie Panjabi
Born: 05/31/1972
Birth Place: Edgware, Middlesex, England, GB


Archana Panjabi was born in Edgware, Middlesex, England on May 31, 1972. The future star spent part of her childhood in Mumbai, India and considered herself part Bombayite; part British. She graduated with a degree in Management Studies from Brunel University before pursuing her acting career in the late nineties. Panjabi's natural ability to speak different accents made her a formidable choice to play a variety of roles, whether it was British, Indian, or American. She first captivated audiences by playing soccer-loving tomboy Meenah Khan in "East Is East," a British romantic comedy that received a standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival in 1999. The film, set in 1970s Britain, became an international success for its blend of working class humor and heart. The actress gained even more worldwide recognition for her role in "Bend It Like Beckham," another soccer-themed movie, opposite Parminder Nagra, Keira Knightley and Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Panjabi played Pinky Bhamra, Nagra's character's older sister who is preparing for her traditional Indian wedding. Her performance in "Beckham" earned the actress a BBC Mega Mela award while the film was nominated for a Golden Globe award that same year.

Even though she broke out in the acting world with comedic roles, Panjabi's onscreen presence and limitless talent translated well in heavier, dramatic characters. She had a supporting turn in the political thriller "The Constant Gardener" (2005) as Ghita Pearson, a woman who helps her best friend's husband (Ralph Fiennes) solve her grisly murder. In the Ridley Scott-directed "A Good Year" (2006), the actress played Russell Crowe's mischievous and sassy executive assistant. Scott described Panjabi in various interviews as "smart and sensitive enough as an actress to make anything fly; comedy or drama, an unusual talent." It was also rumored that Panjabi based her "A Good Year" character on someone she met in Mumbai several years before.

With her international fame reaching new heights, Panjabi maintained a strong acting presence in her native country. She appeared in the television adaptation of Zadie Smith's novel "White Teeth" (Channel 4, 2002) as a mouthy young bride. The British publication The Observer praised Panjabi for "dominating every scene in which she appears." The actress played a parapsychologist in the drama "Sea of Souls" (BBC, 2004- ) and a painfully shy auto mechanic in "Grease Monkeys" (BBC, 2003- ). A starring role in "Yasmin" (2004) cemented her place as one of Britain's most renowned talents. She played a young British Muslim woman whose world is turned upside down after the September 11 terrorist attacks in a drama written by "The Full Monty" (1997) scribe Simon Beaufoy.

Following her star-making turn in "Yasmin," Panjabi delivered another strikingly raw performance in the 2007 biopic, "A Mighty Heart." The film told the true story of Marianne Pearl (Angelina Jolie), the wife of murdered Wall Street Journal writer Daniel Pearl. Panjabi played Asra Nomani, a fellow journalist and close friend who joins Pearl's extensive search for her missing husband. "A Mighty Heart" also received a standing ovation at Cannes and earned Panjabi the film festival's Chopard Trophy, awarded to a young actress touted as the Female Revelation of the Year. Panjabi made her American television debut in 2009 with "The Good Wife," a CBS drama about a stay-at-home mom (Julianna Margulies) who returns to her old job as an attorney after her politician husband goes to jail for his involvement in a sex scandal. Panjabi played Kalinda, a bisexual investigator who works with Margulies' character. Her performance earned Panjabi an Emmy Award in 2010 for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, pitting her against co-star Christine Baranski. The actress was poised to repeat her accomplishment after receiving another Emmy nomination in the same category the following year.