Archie Panjabi interview, pt. 2


Q: How was it being with Mariane?

Very emotional.   I mean in Cannes there was a standing ovation and the audience was so moved, and of course the critics in Cannes are the hardest to please, and everybody got up and everybody clapped.   Angie and Brad were there, you know, the hottest couple and the entire room was just looking towards Mariane, trying to say ‘thank you’ and you’ve really touched us with your story and you’ve been an inspiration to all of us.   I was holding the tears back, but she stood there, typical Mariane style, very graceful and just accepting and thanking which I thought was remarkable.

Q: How was it working with Angelina Jolie?

Great fun.   We just clicked as soon as we met.   I say it’s probably because we’re both Geminis, I tend to get on extremely well with Geminis, it’s like you find your twin.   And we tapped into each other’s energies really well.   Because it was the two of us and six men and not just in this industry I think women there’s always some sort of tension, more than likely the women don’t get on and the men do, but I think everybody was really surprised that we got on really well, so it was us against them and I think they were scared of us.   (Laughing)  

She’s a really lovely woman to work with and I think she’s a really good role model for me.  

Q: From your role in Bend It Like Beckham to Asra Nomani, that’s quite a trajectory.

One of the things I love about my career is, if you choose your projects carefully, you can go from one character, and I think every actor has the ability to do it, and you can just completely transform yourself.   Like with Angelina with the makeup and the hair, that’s the most unimportant thing, but it does make you feel a different way, and the accent and the background of the character.   As soon as I get a project and I know I’m part of it, you sleep, eat, breathe that person.   Everything about that person, like what sort of coffee would she drink?   You just form this completely different character and it’s one of the most exciting things about being an actress.

With Bend It, I grew up with a lot of girls from Southall.   I don’t know if you’ve been to England but there really are girls like that in England who walk around like they really think that they are it and they know it, and for me it was wearing the tight jeans and the backless top and the accent, I met a group of girls at Southall and the accent was just fantastic.   You always pick up a little word and with Pinky I think it was “Laters” and that will help you get into character.   When you realize that you’re getting paid to take somebody’s life and then throw it on screen in front of the whole world, it’s a great feeling, especially if it does well, with something like Bend It which was hugely successful.

Q: Was the wedding scene with all the dancing as much fun as it looked onscreen?

I trained as a dancer.   I can’t sing to save my life, and in the script it was just like “Pinky and Dittu just dancing around and chatting and listening to the music”, but I said “No, let’s go for it!” and they put the music on and Kulwinder and I, we had worked together before, and we just went into this whole bhangra thing.   But it’s that thing with an Indian wedding, isn’t it, even if you would never dance, but everybody gets up.   And that’s what happened that day, everybody started to get into it.   I think that’s what came across on the film.

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