Kalinda’s a boots and all char­ac­ter

Archie Pan­jabi’s sexy role keeps her on her toes, writes Geoff Shearer

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Cover Story -

ARCHIE Pan­jabi, who plays the straight­shoot­ing, non­cha­lantly bi­sex­ual, not-tobe-messed-with in­ves­ti­ga­tor Kalinda Sharma on The Good Wife, is chuck­ling wildly.

All I asked was whether she was wear­ing her ‘‘ boots of jus­tice’’ for this in­ter­view when we link up on a phone call to New York.

Her ‘‘ jus­tice’’ boots are what fans have la­belled the knee-high Via Spiga num­bers that Kalinda strides around in as she up­holds the law in her unique take-no-pris­on­ers way. She is rarely seen on screen with­out them.

Se­ries cos­tume de­signer Daniel Law­son says he has fun dress­ing Pan­jabi as Kalinda. ‘‘ We have a good time fig­ur­ing out what is go­ing to make her seem tough and sexy all at the same time,’’ Law­son says.

‘‘ Kalinda’s wardrobe comes from a va­ri­ety of places, but a few of the stores that I use to find some of her sig­na­ture pieces in­clude Saks Fifth Av­enue, Bergdorf Good­man, Karen Miller and Elie Ta­hari.’’

Pan­jabi says it was a hair­styl­ist who first tipped her off that her boots had be­come stars in their own right.

‘‘ I do love them,’’ she says in her warm, tex­tured voice.

Born in Eng­land, she spent part of her child­hood in Mum­bai, call­ing her­self ‘‘ part Bom­bayite, part Bri­tish’’.

‘‘ There was a lot of un­ex­pected in­ter­est in Kalinda’s footwear and as a re­sult of that I de­cided to keep the boots — they are good for her char­ac­ter.’’

While Law­son dresses The Good Wife cast, Pan­jabi says the ac­tors still have plenty of in­put into the show’s wardrobe and other as­pects.

‘‘ What I think’s re­ally good on this job is that with make-up and cos­tume it’s very, very col­lab­o­ra­tive,’’ she says. ‘‘ They bring in ideas, we try them on. We bring in ideas. Robert and Michelle (King), the cre­ators, have ideas. It’s nice; it is more of a team ef­fort.’’

Pan­jabi’s char­ac­ter scored her an Emmy Award for Out­stand­ing Sup­port­ing Ac­tress in a Drama Se­ries ear­lier this year.

‘‘ Sea­son one was a re­ally ex­cit­ing time be­cause we were cre­at­ing some­thing,’’ she says. ‘‘ The sec­ond year is just as chal­leng­ing — how do we main­tain the in­ter­est in the char­ac­ter? Be­cause peo­ple are in­trigued by her, but at the same time you need to peel off a cou­ple of lay­ers and get some in­sight into her. It’s chal­leng­ing and that’s what keeps some­one like me on my feet; rather than a char­ac­ter that is pre­dictable.’’

While Pan­jabi has rev­elled in roles in suc­cess­ful films such as East Is East, Bend It Like Beck­ham and The Con­stant Gar­dener, not many fans re­mem­ber her for her role in the an­i­mated Bri­tish se­ries Post­man Pat.

‘‘ I played the mother Nisha and the lit­tle daugh­ter Meera. I ab­so­lutely love do­ing voice-over be­cause you’re to­tally de­pen­dent on the voice to make the char­ac­ter.

‘‘ You don’t have to worry about the hair and the makeup . . . or the boots.’’ The Good Wife, Chan­nel 10, Thurs­day, 8.30pm.

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