Ambareesh, the Beloved Rebel of Kannada Cinema and Politics, Passes Away at 66

Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy said that fans and supporters can pay their last tributes to Ambareesh from 7.30 am onwards on Sunday at the Kanteerava Stadium.

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.
Former Karnataka chief minister Sadananda Gowda expressed sadness over the leader’s death.
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.
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.

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