The Buddha of Suburbia (TV serial)

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The Buddha of Suburbia
The Buddha of Suburbia (TV).jpg
DVD cover
Based on The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi
Screenplay by Hanif Kureishi
Roger Michell
Directed by Roger Michell
Starring Naveen Andrews
Roshan Seth
Susan Fleetwood
Steven Mackintosh
Theme music composer David Bowie
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 1
No. of episodes 4
Producer(s) Kevin Loader
Cinematography John McGlashan
Editor(s) Kate Evans
Running time 55-60 minutes
Production company(s) BBC Films
Distributor BBC
Original network BBC Two
Picture format 14:9
Audio format Stereo
Original release 3 November (1993-11-03) – 24 November 1993 (1993-11-24)
External links

The Buddha of Suburbia is a 1993 British four-part television serial, directed by Roger Michell. Based on the novel of the same name by Hanif Kureishi, the programme starred Naveen Andrews as the main character, Karim Amir. The programme's music was written and performed by David Bowie.

Unable to find distribution in America, the series was given a limited engagement screening at The Public Theater in Manhattan from December 1994 to January 1995.[1]


Karim Amir is a mixed-race 17-year-old who lives in a South London suburb during the 1970s. With an English mother and a Pakistani father, Karim is uncertain of his cultural identity. As his father becomes a kind of spiritual guru to the surrounding middle-class neighbours, Karim begins to explore his cultural roots with hopes that he will achieve sexual and racial self-realisation.




Segments for the series were filmed at Naveen Andrews' old school Emanuel School.[citation needed] The extras used in the series were real punks, skinheads, suedeheads, hippies, and musicians cast by actress Barbie Wilde.[2]


The series features many songs from the seventies as well as music written and performed specifically for the series by David Bowie. While an album classified as the series' soundtrack was released on 8 November 1993, the tracks on the album are significantly reworked.[3] The primary song that remains the same on the soundtrack album is the programme's theme song "The Buddha of Suburbia". A promotional music video was made for the song, featuring Bowie performing the song while strolling around an English suburb as scenes from the series are intercut throughout.[4]


  1. ^ O'Connor, John J. (29 December 1994). "CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK; Is the BBC Too Adult For American Viewers?". The New York Times. p. 2. Retrieved 14 March 2013. 
  2. ^ Keehnen, Owen. "Wilde Thing or Cenobite Barbie: Barbie Wilde Tells All". Racks and Razors. Retrieved 14 March 2013. 
  3. ^ Bowie, David. The Buddha of Suburbia liner notes (BMG International, 1994) (available at Bassman's David Bowie page)
  4. ^ David Bowie (1993). Buddha of Suburbia (Music Video). EMI. Retrieved 14 March 2013. 

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