Karnataka's 'Rebel Star' Ambareesh passes away at 66

Last Updated : 25 November 2018, 20:20 IST

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Malavalli Huchche Gowda Amarnath, fondly known as "Rebel Star" Ambareesh, passed away on Saturday night at a private hospital in Bengaluru. He was 66.

The veteran Sandalwood actor-cum-politician complained about uneasiness in the chest and was rushed immediately to Vikram Hospital on Cunningham road in the evening where he died due to a heart attack at 10:15 pm. Ambareesh is survived by actor and wife Sumalatha and son Abhishek Gowda.

Ambareesh collapsed in the evening at his home and was immediately rushed to Vikram Hospital. Previously diagnosed with breathing and kidney problems, the veteran actor was attended to by Dr Satish and his team of expert doctors. Despite the doctors’ best efforts, Ambareesh, according to sources at the hospital, died of a massive cardiac arrest.

Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy said the funeral will be held at Bengaluru on Monday at Kanteerava Studios and that the public can pay their last respects from 7.30 am onwards on Sunday at the Sree Kanteerava Outdoor Stadium in the city.

A pillar of Kannada film industry

Ambareesh sudden’s demise has left a deep void in the Kannada film industry after the passing away of thespian Dr Raj Kumar and Vishnuvardhan.

The shocking news of Ambareesh’s demise took Karnataka by storm with several fans flocking the hospital late in the night. The who’s who of Sandalwood, including Puneeth Rajkumar, Yash and Rockline Venkatesh, rushed to the hospital. Kumaraswamy, Water Resources Minister D K Shivakumar and Mandya MP L R Shivarame Gowda also rushed to the hospital.

Condoling Ambareesh's death, Kumaraswamy said that he was both shocked and saddened by his demise. Calling him a dear friend, Kumaraswamy said that Ambareesh was a "rebel" who was loved by all. "In his death, an era of love and affection in Kannada Film industry has ended. With Ambareesh I enjoyed a friendship that went beyond political affiliations and films. He was a rebel who was loved by all. He has carved a unique place in both politics and films. Ambareesh leaves back a legacy that will be cherished by his family, friends, fans and followers. May his soul rest in peace and his family and friends get the strength to bear this loss," the chief minister said.

Being a crucial link in the Kannada film industry, Ambareesh, a few years ago, recovered from respiratory disorder and made a remarkable comeback. He was treated at Singapore for a few days.

Read Also: Ambareesh was ‘rebel star’ in politics, too

The making of an actor and politician

Ambareesh was born in Dodda Arasinakere village of Mandya district on May 29, 1952. He was the grandson of legendary violinist 'Piteel' Chowdiah, after whom the Chowdiah Hall is named in Bengaluru.

Born on May 29, 1952, Ambarish entered filmdom through the role of 'Jaleel' in veteran director Puttanna Kanagal's 'Naagarahaavu' in 1972. In his first film, Ambareesh turned out to be a household name by portraying a negative role. Later, his fans gave him the title "Rebel Star" and also hailed him as "Mandyada Gand" (Man of Mandya).

Ambareesh also played the role of 'Kanwar Lal' and was remembered for his all-time famous dialogue in the film 'Antha': "Khutte, Kanwar Nahi, Kanwar Lal Bolo". The film was a major blockbuster.

It was so popular that it was remade as Operation Antha in 1995 by Upendra. It was a direct sequel to the blockbuster 1981 film 'Antha', which also starred Ambareesh, who played the dual role as Kanwar Lal and Susheel Kumar.

Ambareesh has acted in more than 200 films in the lead role. He has a record of acting with all most of the present Kannada stars like Shivaraj Kumar, Puneeth Rajkumar, Kiccha Sudeep, Darshan and Chiranjeevi Sarja

Ambareesh and Ambika were known for their on-screen chemistry, which could be seen in Chakravyuha, Mooru Janma, Bazar Bhima, Hong Kong Nalli Agent Amar, Vijayakhadga, Digvijaya, Poornachandra, Onde Raktha, Chaduranga, Bete and Avala Neralu. The famous number 'Chali Chali Taalenu Ee Chaliya' from Chakravyuha featuring Ambi and Ambika became a hit among the young couple of those days.

Mrugalaya, Hrudaya Haadithu, Olavina Udugore, Indrajith, Yelu Suthina Kote, Entede Banta, Barjari Bete, Rowdy MLA, Rani Maharani, Sapthapadi, Veeraparampare, Manina Doni, and New Delhi were the famous films of Ambareesh's filmography. For his protagonist role in Mandyada Gandu, Ambi became famous with the same title across the state.

He has also acted in 'Shubhamangala', 'Masanada Hoovu', 'Olavina Udugere', 'Hrudaya Haadithu', 'Odahuttidavaru', 'Diggajaru' and 'Elu Suttina Kote', where he played a critically acclaimed role.

Before becoming "Rebel Star", Ambareesh became a household name in Karnataka by playing supporting roles in movies like Paduvaralli Pandavaru, Shubhamangala, Ranganayaki and Masanada Hoovu, which were all directed by S R Putanna Kanagal.

Apart from newbies, Ambareesh has also acted with the stalwarts of Kannada film industries like Dr Rajkumar, Dr Vishnuvardhan, Shankar Nag, Anant Nag, Prabhakar, Devaraj, Jaggesh and Ravichandran.

The recently released 'Ambi Ninge Vayassaytho' was his last film which hit the screen two months ago.

A contemporary of Vishnuvardhan, Ananth Nag and Shankar Nag, Ambareesh has a huge fan following and had carved a niche in Kannada filmdom.

After a successful stint in films, Ambareesh entered politics in 1996 by joining the Janata Dal and later defected to the Congress. He was elected to the Lok Sabha twice from Mandya Parliamentary constituency. He had also served as Information and Broadcasting minister for a brief period in the Manmohan Singh Cabinet and subsequently resigned when the Cauvery dispute was at its peak.

After being dropped from the Siddaramaiah Cabinet, Ambareesh remained neutral in his political stance after the recent elections to the state Assembly in May.

(With inputs from Niranjan Kaggere, Nrupathunga, Deepak S, Sandesh M S, Ashwini Y S and Bharath Joshi)

Published 24 November 2018, 17:36 IST

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