Archana “Archie” Panjabi is a British actress (East is East, Bend It Like Beckham) starring as Kalinda Sharma on the current CBS television series The Good Wife. Interviewed by Shivani Vora in India Ink, the New York Times:
Q:Talk about your upbringing. What were your parents like?
A. My mom was a teacher, and my dad had his own business, and both were very accommodating of other cultures. I used to go to Sunday school to learn about Christianity, and we celebrated Christmas with a traditional meal, a tree and presents. We even sometimes went to Midnight Mass.
But we were also very Indian in that both of them cooked traditional Indian food every day – they even made fresh rotis! And Indian holidays, especially Diwali, were a big deal for us. We used to do the puja (prayer), and we had a lot of family around so we would celebrate with them by swapping gifts and eating.
Q: You lived in Mumbai for two years – do you still have connections to the city? Do you ever visit?
A.I moved there when I was 8, and even though I was only there for a short time, being there really helped me get in touch with my Indian culture. I have family and friends there and try to visit every three or four years. It’s such an amazing city, and every couple of years, I need my fix. More:
After ‘Bend it Like Beckham‘, director Gurinder Chadha was inundated with offers from Hollywood. So why is her latest project, ‘Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging‘, another British coming-of-age film? Kaleem Aftab in The Independent:
There comes a time in the career of every successful director when they decide to do a movie that is a marked departure from the winning template that has made their name. At first glance, Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging is that project for the gregarious Gurinder Chadha.
Chadha established her reputation as one of the leading film-makers in Britain by making movies about second-generation Indian girls trying to live life and find love in the West. Her feature films Bhaji on the Beach, What’s Cooking?, Bend it Like Beckham and Bride and Prejudice all feature principal protagonists with backgrounds similar to her own; although she was born in Kenya in 1960, Chadha grew up in Southall, west London, to parents with strong beliefs about the value of cultural roots and the comportment of a “good” Indian girl.
What separates her previous work from Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging, the adaptation of Louise Rennison’s first two books about Eastbourne-based teenager Georgia Nicolson, is the skin colour of the principal character. For the 48-year-old director this isn’t such a big deal: “I’m as English as I’m Indian and it’s good to explore that side of me. There is a lot of stuff in the film that is as much about me growing up as came from the novel.”