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Balham to Bollywood Hardcover – 4 Apr 2002


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 282 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd; First Edition, First Printing edition (4 April 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034081988X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340819883
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.6 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 377,741 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

England's engaging book is based on Lagaan, the Indian blockbuster film with a cricketing theme. England, himself an actor/cricketer with his own team, organised a cricket match-cum-audition in the UK for the film; we are then taken to India, and England's experiences with local travel and local people is described vividly and humorously. Lagaan (the name of a form of tax) is about a cricket match between British Army Officers and local villagers some 100 years ago. Villagers who have never played cricket are trained by a young English girl who is the sister of an army officer taking part in the match. The making of the film provides a host of delicious culture clash anecdotes and this makes Lagaan a treat for lovers of cricket and idiosyncratic travel books.

About the Author

Chris England is an actor and scriptwriter whose work includes the hit West End play and television film An Evening with Gary Lineker, with Arthur Smith, and a best-selling alternative history of football, What Didn't Happen Next, with Nick Hancock. His other writing for television includes the sitcom Blind Men, the television film Bostock's Cup and the comedy The Preventers. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 April 2002
Format: Hardcover
I am a cricket nut, and this is the funniest cricket book I've read since "Rain Men". It is also, by the way, a rivetting tale of the making of the Bollywood cricket blockbuster "Lagaan" - and why has there never been a decent British cricket movie? Thirdly, "Balham to Bollywood" is a travel book that knocks your Brysons, your Hawkses and your McCarthys into a cocked hat, with countless funny anecdotes about an obscure part of the sub-continent. Enjoy!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By englandfan on 3 Jun 2004
Format: Paperback
We had this book with us in the West Indies - we went for the cricket - and it got passed around enthusiastically in the stand and on the beach. Often you'd hear someone nearby start laughing, and look round and find they had our dog-eared copy in one hand and a glass of beer in the other. Actually we should probably apologise to the author, as he has been done out of I should say at least a dozen sales, but at least he has the consolation of having royally entertained a happy gang of England supporters. This is a unique cricket book, and a must for cricket readers everywhere. Get it and enjoy!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Peter William on 25 Mar 2003
Format: Paperback
Really funny. The writer is an easy-going and witty chap bumbling aound on his first ever visit to India and the Indian film business. His descriptions of the shambolic making of the film Lagaan are fascinating and hilarious, and yet done with obvious affection for everyone involved (apart from maybe one or two). And every few pages he'll surprise you into outright laughter with a phrase or a passage that comes out of nowhere - the bit about his dislike of horses, and the bloke selling toilets by the side of the road, for example, are particularly mirth-inducing. I found myself reading bits out loud to whoever was nearby. The best book I've read this millennium.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 April 2002
Format: Hardcover
Terrific! This guy really knows his cricket, and has written a hilarious account of playing and working in India. I can't wait to see the film he was making - if it's half as good as this book it will be a classic!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "richardhowle" on 29 Sep 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is, without doubt the best book I have read this year. It's laugh out loud funny, you don't need to know anything about cricket to have tears rolling down your cheeks as he describes his attempts at horsemanship.
I was drawn to this book by three things, Cricket (my favourite sport), Balham (it's where I live)and Chris England who wrote "An Evening with Gary Lineker" (along with another Balham resident, Arthur Smith).
Actually Chris England lives is Streatham but explains that for aliteration purposes he chose the nearest place which begins with B!
The success of this book lies purely in Englands writing style, which is humorous, honest, self effacing and touching yet the twinkle is never far from his eye.
If you are interested in cricket, films, acting, India or just want a good laugh this book is definatey for you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 19 April 2002
Format: Hardcover
A lot of cricket books are like the game itself as played at county level: ie long periods of stultifying boredom, appealing only to thermos flask toting anorak clad coffin dodgers, punctuated by the odd glimmer of something apporoaching excitement. Not this book: it made me smile, it made me laugh, it informed me,it entertained me , it even moved me. This book is about actors (both successful and unsucessful)
film making, India, Bollywood and, -oh yes - cricket. It's also - endearingly - about the author's prejudices. He rants about , amongst other things, Dennis Norden, airport luggage shops, and self obsessed extras. The literary equivalent of an unbroken partnership of 254 between David Gower and Derek Randall. Buy. Now.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bruce on 17 Jun 2002
Format: Hardcover
As a person of Japanese ancestry from California, my exposure to cricket is, as expected, extremely limited.
However, I work with many Indians, which is how I became aware of, and ultimately saw, "Lagaan". "Lagaan" - in the worldwide sense - is a movie classic and one of the best pictures I have seen in my life.
When I first saw this book, it was because of its connection to "Lagaan" and the cricket match that I bought it. I am recommending this book because it is a really funny book. Until the end, when he writes of the tragic earthquake which hit India after filming was completed, Chris England appears to have fun with the writing. Even some of his more serious stuff has amusing twists at the end (except, as I said, for the earthquake segment).
The book is easy to read and everyone, including non-cricketers, will be able to understand and appreciate the humor.
I hope Chris will get more roles that will allow him the experiences that he shared with us in this book. He is an engaging writer. If he does receive such an opportunity, I would love to read that book as well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael Christopher on 27 Mar 2003
Format: Paperback
I love reading two sorts of book best of all - books about cricket, the greatest game in the world, and books about the movie business. These worlds have never before collided within a single volume - until now. Of course, Hollywood would never deign to make a film about cricket, not while there's incomprehensible scripts about American football and/or baseball to make, so it is left to the all-singing, all-dancing, Indians to demonstrate the cinematic magic that can be made with willow and leather. Chris England - who I have always heard of as a football writer before this - had a part in Lagaan, the Oscar nominated Bollywood cricket epic, and this brilliant book is the diary of his time in an Indian backwater,working on the movie and playing lots of cricket. It is blissful stuff. He makes you feel like you know each of the cast and crew personally, from the bullying first AD to the stroppy extras. His account of strolling around a small Indian town, bathing in reflected Bollywood glamour, is tremendously entertaining. Very highly recommended indeed.
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