When 'Rebel Star' rewinds past days in Mysore

Ambareesh on the set of Kannada film ‘Swayamkrishi’.  DH photo by Prashanth H G

A teenager with crazed eyes, surrounded by an army of friends, was a regular at the corner of a petrol bunk opposite Maharani’s College. For most of the girls, especially of Maharani’s, it was one stretch they tread with fear; not because the bunch of boys were bad, but because of the wild look of the youth at the centre.

Now, the youth is the undisputed king of Kannada filmdom who still cherishes his days as a youngster in Mysore. If you have already guessed who it is, yes it’s M H Amarnath who for the celluloid became ‘Ambareesh’.

Popular as ‘rebel star’ among his fans, Ambareesh was in the city recently to shoot for a film. When City Herald roped him in for a free-wheeling chat, he unfolded the moments, as he says:  remains etched in his memory.

“You have to ask those girls’ he quips, when asked whether those ‘maharanis’ had fallen flat for him. Whenever he drives down to Mysore, he loves to spend some time in the lap of nature. “I love the aerial view of the city from the top of Chamundi Hills in the dead of night”, says Ambareesh. Whatever the city was, is and will be, the credit goes to Maharaja’s, he says with due respect. The Palace, Railway Station, Central Post Office and most of the buildings were built by the Wadiyars, says Ambareesh. They were for development and charity.

He still visits the places he used to frequent then — a wine store owned by his friend (not to drink, he clarifies) and an audio shop, the name of which he couldn’t recall.
How can he forget the locality he grew up in? Many do not know, Ambareesh was a resident of Saraswathipuram, seventh main here. His elder sister still stays in the same locality but in another house. Says Ambareesh: honouring his mother’s words, he gave the house inherited from his father to his younger sister. However, his sister sold the same for some reasons, one thing (selling of the property) Ambareesh still regrets. “Nammakkana manege hogbekadre, aa mane mundene hogbeku” (I have to pass through the same house to my sister’s place).

Ambareesh also posts a grievance. The authorities still lag behind in projecting Mysore as a tourist city. The abundant spots here of tourist interest are yet to be developed with required amenities. He is also opposed to people hitting streets sometimes violently for trivial issues. “When a tourist from northern state plans holidays, he or she obviously selects Mysore in the itinerary. And, if the city becomes unsafe for tourists, they will surely change their plans. It’s a loss to the ‘City of Palaces’ again.

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