Kalinda’s a boots and all character
Archie Panjabi’s sexy role keeps her on her toes, writes Geoff Shearer
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.