Archie Panjabi Biography

English actress

Archana Panjabi (born 31 May 1972) is a British 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 NBC crime drama Blindspot (2016–17, 2020), Kendra Malley in Global TV drama Departure (2019), and Kalinda Sharma in CBS Legal drama 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. Additional 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).


  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Career
  • 3 Philanthropy
  • 4 Awards
  • 5 Personal life
  • 6 Filmography
    • 6.1 Film
    • 6.2 Television
    • 6.3 Television films
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links

Early life

Panjabi was born in Edgware, London to Govind and Padma Panjabi, both Sindhi Hindu immigrants from India. Her ancestry belongs to Sindh, now in Pakistan; her parents settled in India after the Par*ion of India. She graduated from Brunel University with a degree in management studies in 1994. She is also cl*ically trained in ballet.

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. 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.

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. 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.

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

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..." In an interview with The Guardian in February 2018, subsequent to her The Good Wife success, Panjabi ruefully recalled "An agent told me an Indian woman could never have a Hollywood career." 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 3 in 2022.


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

Panjabi was appointed the first Pratham USA Amb*ador, representing the largest educational movement in India. She is a celebrity participant in the Rotary International's "This Close" public service campaign to end polio. 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. 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. The Harvard Foundation and Office for the Arts at Harvard University invited Panjabi to participate in their Artist in Residence Program in Cambridge, M*achusetts, to share her creative process as an actress.


Main article: List of awards and nominations received by Archie Panjabi

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

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




Television films


    External links

    Archie Panjabi at Wikipedia's sister projects
    • Media from Commons
    • Data from Wikidata
    • Official website at the Wayback Machine (archived 10 February 2020)
    • Archie Panjabi at AllMovie
    • Archie Panjabi at
    • Archie Panjabi at IMDb:
    • Archie Panjabi at the TCM Movie Database
    Archie Panjabi