Ambareesh, the Beloved Rebel of Kannada Cinema and Politics, Passes Away at 66
Bengaluru: Veteran Kannada actor and former minister Ambareesh passed away in a Bengaluru hospital on Saturday where he was being treated for multiple ailments. He was 66.
The actor was admitted at city's Vikram hospital after suffering massive cardiac arrest, following which he passed away, the hospital authorities confirmed. Ambareesh reportedly collapsed in the evening at his home in JP Nagar and was immediately rushed to the hospital. He was earlier diagnosed with respiratory and kidney problems and has been admitted to Mount Elizabeth hospital of Singapore.
Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, who had visited the hospital late on Saturday night, requested the veteran supporters to maintain peace and law and order.
"The funeral of our beloved actor and politician will be held at Bengaluru on Monday at Kanteerava Studios. Fans and supporters can pay their last tributes to Ambareesh from 7.30 am onwards on Sunday at the Kanteerava Stadium," he said.
Heavy security has been deployed outside the hospital. The police have placed barricades at the entrance.
Ambareesh had opted out of the Assembly elections after being given a Congress ticket from Mandya constituency. He served as a union minister in the UPA government led by Manmohan Singh. The actor was an MP from 1998-99, 1999-2004 and 2004-2009. He was also the Minister of State in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting from 2006 to 2008.
He had the national award for his debut film Naagarahaavu in 1972 and was known as 'Rebel star' especially after his film Chakravyuha. In a career spanning to over 50 years, he acted in at least 200 films.
As soon as the news of senior actor's death was announced, condolences started pouring in from leaders and actors.
Actor-turned-politician Rajanikanth mourned the loss of a friend.
A wonderful human being ... my best friend ... I have lost you today and will miss you ... Rest In Peace #Ambrish— Rajinikanth (@rajinikanth) November 24, 2018
Former Karnataka chief minister Sadananda Gowda expressed sadness over the leader's death.
Yet another shocking news , Gentleman actor , Loved by all human , Former Union State Minister Sri Amabarish is no more . He had enlightened so many lives with his generosity . pic.twitter.com/518WzIEykN— Sadananda Gowda (@DVSBJP) November 24, 2018
Former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah, Congress social media head Divya Spandana, Udupi-Chikmagaluru MP Shobha Karandlaje and PMO India were among others to pay tribute.
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.— Divya Spandana/Ramya (@divyaspandana) November 24, 2018
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 pic.twitter.com/1LjsuLMZZG— Shobha Karandlaje (@ShobhaBJP) November 24, 2018
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. pic.twitter.com/UitCU7MHss— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) November 24, 2018
Shri Ambareesh will always be remembered for his memorable performances as an actor and extensive contribution to politics. He was a strong voice for Karnataka’s welfare, at the state and central level. Pained by his demise. Condolences to his family & admirers: PM @narendramodi— PMO India (@PMOIndia) November 25, 2018
Ambareesh was considered a 'strong rock' of Kannada film industry as he was believed to be the only man who could stop internal star-war in Sandalwood. He was indeed a 'trouble-shooter' of the Kannada film industry and often tried to sort out issues in other south Indian film industries.
Recently, when multi-lingual actress Shruthi Hariharan made #MeToo allegation against south Indian veteran actor Arjun Sarja, Ambareesh tried to find out a mutual solution. However, both the actors did not accept the 'compromise' and decided to fight in the court.
During recent Karnataka Vidhan Sabha elections in May, Ambareesh was given ticket from the Congress party. But he refused to contest in elections at the last moment, which shocked the party leaders.
Ambareesh was the last man standing in terms of Vokkaliga leadership in Congress after former chief minister SM Krishna left the party and joined his hands with BJP. Even though DK Shivakumar, another prominent leader from Vokkaliga basin is with Congress, Ambareesh's blow was massively felt in Karnataka Congress.
Ambareesh was called 'Appaji' in Kannada, which means 'Dad', by most of the Sandalwood stars and was always a highly respected man. He was one of the pillars of the film industry here and a celebrated star after Dr Rajkumar and Dr Vishnuvardhan.