Kannada movie icon and former union minister Malavalli Huchche Gowda Amarnath, popularly known by his screen name Ambareesh, passed away at a private hospital in Bengaluru on Saturday night. He was 66.
Arguably the last Kannada superstar of the bygone era, Ambareesh had been battling health issues for a long time. He was, also, reportedly undergoing treatment for a kidney ailment.
According to the spokesperson of Vikram hospital, he was “found unresponsive” at his residence in JP Nagar earlier today. The resuscitation efforts continued even as he was being rushed to the hospital.
“Despite all aggressive resuscitation efforts, he could not be revived,” read the official statement of the hospital. The actor was declared dead at 10:15 pm on Saturday.
Ambareesh was lovingly called ‘Rebel Star’ by his fans and the members of the film fraternity and it seemed perfectly fitting for his nonsense off-screen persona. A native of Mandya district, he was also celebrated by the Kannada film industry as Mandyada Gandu (Man of Mandya). He has acted in over 200 films in Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Hindi.
Born on 29 May 1952, Ambareesh made his screen debut in 1972 with Naagarahaavu. The film helmed by legendary filmmaker Puttanna Kanagal also marked the debut of late matinee idol Vishnuvardhan, who achieved an overnight stardom in Karnataka with his raw performance as a hotheaded and proud youngster. Ambareesh had played the supporting role in the film and his ‘aye bulbul’ dialogue, an improvised catcalling, made him a sensation among the Kannada audience.
It’s worth noting that, while Ambareesh played Vishnuvardhan’s rival in Naagarahaavu, in real life, they both shared a close friendship.
After playing supporting roles in a few more films, Ambareesh became a lead actor by playing action roles. He ruled the silver screen in Karnataka through the 80s with his “angry young man” roles. He also sporadically did movies in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi film industry during his formative years.
Also Read | Who was Ambareesh?
In the early 90s, Ambareesh took a plunge into politics. He had been a member of the Congress party and Janata Dal party. Ambareesh had served as Member of Parliament and was Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting in the UPA government led by Manmohan Singh. However, he resigned from the Lok Sabha membership, expressing dissatisfaction with the Cauvery Dispute Tribunal award.
The actor was also Minister of Housing in the Siddaramaiah-led Karnataka government, but he later resigned.
We are shocked and saddened to hear about the untimely passing of former union minister, veteran actor and Congress leader Dr. Ambareesh. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. pic.twitter.com/avwM2rwqiv
— Congress (@INCIndia) November 24, 2018
Ambareesh was last seen in Ambi Ning Vayassaytho, which was the remake of Tamil film Pa.Pandi. Kannada star Sudeep had produced and played a cameo in the film which released earlier this year.
The actor had also played the role of Bheeshma in the upcoming mythological drama Kurukshetra, which is yet to release.
Ambareesh is survived by his wife Sumalatha and son Abishek.
Following news of the death of Ambareesh, actors and politicians expressed their condolences on social media.
It is difficult to digest that Ambareesh is no more, says Sarath Kumar
Sarath Kumar shared on Facebook, "It is shocking and unbelievable and unbearable and a great loss to the film fraternity, a good friend and a great human being, it is difficult to digest that he is no more, my heartfelt condolences to Sumalatha ji and family and the people of Karnataka, I fondly remember sitting by his side watching his movie just a month ago. He will be etched in the memories of all his fans friends and family forever,may his soul rest in peace"
Raai Laxmi on Ambareesh
Raai Laxmi tweeted, "Grown up watching his movies never had the opportunity to work with him but I m happy I met him few times! Shocked to hear this news! another legend gone ☹️ rip #Ambareesh sir ☹️"
Dr G Parameshwara on Ambareesh
Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Dr G Parameshwara on Ambareesh wrote on Twitter, "Truly shocking to hear about the demise of party colleague, former minister & senior actor Rebel Star #Ambareesh. His energy, charm and wit were infectious. The love & popularity he enjoyed among the people was admirable. Kannada cinema and Karnataka have become very poor today."
Aftab Shivdasani on Ambareesh
Sad news of the passing of veteran actor Ambareesh of the Kannada film industry. Sincere condolences to his family and prayers for his soul. RIP 🙏🏼💔— Aftab Shivdasani (@AftabShivdasani) November 24, 2018
Shobha Karandlaje on Ambareesh
"Extremely saddened to hear of the passing away of Sri Ambareesh. End of an era of Kannada Film industry!! My condolences to his family.#OmShanthi," Udupi-Chikkamagaluru BJP MP Shobha Karandlaje said via Twitter.
Siddaramaiah on Ambareesh
Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah shared on Twitter, "He was not just a great actor, not just a proven politician but also great human being. Ambareesh, u ll be missed.I am deeply pained by his death. My condolences to all his family members, friends & well-wishers."
Divya Spandana on Ambareesh
Actor and Congress social media head Divya Spandana wrote on Twitter, “Extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Ambareesh uncle. May his soul rest in peace. My condolences to his family. Will always remember him fondly.”
Nikita Thukral on Ambareesh
Nikita Thukral posted on Twitter, "A true legendary actor Ambarish sir is no more still can’t believe it a man who the nation and the cinema industry loved respected a true gentleman in words @rip Ambarish sir still can’t believe it. God give a lot of strength to your family."
Rashmika Mandanna on Ambareesh
Rashmika Mandanna tweeted, "Deeply saddened by the death of great legend #ambarish sir 😔. May your soul rst in peace sir 😔. Very sad to hear this...."
Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Ambareesh
With a heavy heart visited the hospital and met the grieving family members of my dear friend rebel star #Ambareesh. In consultation with the family, I have instructed to make arrangements for the public and fans to pay last respects to the departed leader at Kanteerava Stadium. pic.twitter.com/NrvyR4pDc0— CM of Karnataka (@CMofKarnataka) November 24, 2018
Parul Yadav on Ambareesh
"Shocked and saddened to hear of #Ambareesh uncle’s passing. The #KFI will always be in your debt.. My deepest condolences to @sumalathaA ma’am and Abhishek," Parul Yadav said via Twitter.
A legend no more, says Kasturi Shankar
Kasturi Shankar wrote on Twitter, "RIP ambareesh avaru. A legend no more. My condolences to sumalatha and the entire family."
Will miss you terribly, says Radikaa Sarathkumar
Radikaa Sarathkumar shared on Twitter, "#Ambareesh what a wonderful human being, , such a wonderful person. Will miss you terribly. My heart goes out to Suma and family. So heartbreaking. May he rest in peace."
Completely shell shocked, says Khushbu
Khushbu Sundar tweeted, "Completely shell shocked..not able to come to terms..mind says it has to be untrue.. sudden demise of our great friend #Ambreeshji has left us shattered and heartbroken.. our thoughts are with his wife #Suma mam n his son #Abhi n the entire family..#RIP #Ambareesh Sir 😭😭💔💔💔"
I will miss you, says Rajinikanth
Rajinikanth posted on Twitter, "A wonderful human being ... my best friend ... I have lost you today and will miss you ... Rest In Peace #Ambrish"