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‘Proud to be Indian in Hollywood’

Archie Panjabi talks about being the first Indian actor to have won an Emmy Award.

hollywood Updated: Sep 18, 2010 13:08 IST
Nikhil Taneja

After India made a splash at the 2009 Academy Awards, the 2010 Primetime Emmy Awards — American television’s prestigious awards show — too celebrated Indian talent for the very first time.

On August 30, UK’s Archie Panjabi became the first Indian-origin actor to be awarded an Emmy for her role as aprivate investigator, Kalindi Sharma, in the top-rated American Show, The Good Wife.

Speaking exclusively to HT, Panjabi says it was “a welcome surprise” to win the award. “To me, the award means that whatever your dream may be, or your career is, your age and ethnicity can’t come in your way if you really work hard. Because I never thought I would get an opportunity like this, let alone win an award within nine months of being on a show!” she gushes.

Having debuted with East Is East, Panjabi has gone from strength to strength in her career. The actor, who has held her own in movies co-starring Russell Crowe (A Good Year), Don Cheadle (Traitor) and Angelina Jolie (A Mighty Heart), says her career choices have been influenced by both her Indian heritage and her upbringing in England.

“My characters reflect this identity, but I have never looked at a role based on its ethnicity,” she says. That’s why Panjabi prides in the fact that the reviews for The Good Wife always spoke about her character rather than her ethnicity. “The creators saw actresses from various ethnicities for the role and only when I was cast, she was adapted into an Indian,” the actor reveals.

And because Hollywood is opening up to such ideas, Panjabi feels that “this is an exciting time for India internationally”. “India has crossed over on so many levels,” Panjabi says. “And so, I’m really proud to be Indian in Hollywood right now.”