Actor Ambareesh passes away, a great loss to the south Indian film industry

Kannada Actor Ambareesh dies

Well known Kannada actor turned politician Malavalli Huchche Gowda Amarnath, popularly known as Ambareesh passed away yesterday in Bangalore at a private hospital due to cardiac arrest. The 66 year old was in Congress and became Union Minister, whose wife Sumalatha is also a successful actress in Malayalam and Kannada movies. The couple have a son, Abishek Gowda.

Abhishek Gowda, Sumalatha and Ambareesh.

The actor turned politician’s foray into the Kannada film was Naagarahaavu in 1972, directed by Puttanna Kanagal. After the doing the cameo role, Ambareesh has acted in excess of 208 films. All Kanagal directed movies including Paduvaaralli Pandavaru, Shubhamangala Masanada Hoovu and Ranganayaki were super hits. In 2010, Ambareesh beat the record of legendary Kannada actor late Rajkumar by acting in 206 movies as a lead actor, while he also beat the fellow debutante Vishnuvardhan’s record of 230 films. Ambareesh has acted in Kannada, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam movies as a lead actor. Till now, none in the Kannada film industry had surpassed his record.

Notable movies of Ambareesh includes Antha, which was released in 1981, directed by Rajendra Singh Babu. The film, which was essentially taking a political dig told in a hilarious way was a box office hit and was also remade into Tamil and Hindi languages. Ambareesh has acted as a lead character in the Malayalam film Gaanam, directed by Sreekumaran Thampi, which as a musical movie, pairing with Lakshmi, which turned out to be a super hit. His wife Sumalatha was more popular in Malayalam film industry as she has acted with scores of lead actors of the day, including Mammootty and Mohanlal. However, Antha became very controversial as this film, for the first time in the history of Indian cinema, took on the politicians and government babus and showed in bad light, replete with corruption and nepotism. Inspired by Antha, a slew of films followed which included Chakravyuha and New Delhi. Chakravyuha was remade into Hindi movie by the name Inquilaab, with Amitabh Bachchan in the lead, while New Delhi, with the same name was remade in Malayalam, with Mammootty in the lead was a rage in Kerala. Other popular flicks of Ambareesh are Tony, Ranganayaki, Olavina Udugore, Rani Maharani, Hongkongili Agent Amar, Hrudaya Haadithu, Mannina Doni, Odathttidavaru to name a few.

The evolution of Ambareesh as an established actor, who was able to take up any character was through the Kannada film, Masanada Hoovu, where his performance was incredible, along with Elu Suttina Kote and his sole Malayalam movie, Gaanam. Ambareesh received critical acclaim for these three movies. Similarly, if you take his Mamateya Madilu or for that matter Hrudaya Haadithu and other films such as Mouna Raga or Elu Sutinaa Kote, in all these movies, Ambareesh has exhibited awesome performance and he carved a niche for himself in the Indian celluloid as one of the all time great actor. Though, the debut of Ambareesh was with Vishnuvardhan, the former has acted with the then super star of Kannada film, Rajkumar. As Ambareesh was known for his charitable activities and resourcefulness amongst his film fraternity, he was known as Kaliyuga Karna and Mandyada Gandu for being the rebel actor. For Antha, Ambareesh was conferred with Karnataka State Award, while he received the Best Actor for his performance in Antha and he further bagged Best Supporting Actor award for his performance in Masanada Hoovu. In addition to that Ambareesh also received a slew of other awards from other states such as NTR Award by the then combined Andhra Pradesh State, Film Fare Best Award for his acting skills in Olavina Udugore. Ambareesh, the actor’s career in the film industry came to a denouement when he received Film Fare Life Time Achievement Award. Last, but certainly not the least, Ambareesh was the only actor, who was asked to inaugurate the prestigious Mysore Dasara festival organised by the Karanataka Government. The last award he received from the film industry was the Government of Karnataka instituted Dr. Vishnuvardhan Award in 2011.

Political Innings

After quitting the film industry, Ambareesh took to politics, where he joined the Congress in 1994 only to leave the party two years later, protesting against him not been given a ticket to contest by the party high command. Nevertheless, Ambareesh moved to the Janata Dal and got the ticket to contest the 1998 Lok Sabha Poll from Mandya Constituency, where he tasted resounding victory by polling 4,31,439 votes trouncing the Congress candidate. Again Ambareesh went back to Congress and represented the prestigious Mandya Constituency for two more terms. In the 14th Lok Sabha, Ambareesh took oath as Union Minister of State for Information and Technology, eventually he quit the post clearly indicating displeasure over the Cauvery Tribunal award, nevertheless his resignation was not accepted by the party. However, his luck turned downhill in the May 2009 Lok Sabha Poll, where Ambareesh lost. Later, he extended support to HD Kumaraswamy in Kanakapura Parliament Election in ’90s and during the late ’90s to SM Krishna and KR Pete Krishna. Ambareesh was a Member of Parliament in the Lok Sabha from 1998-1999, again MP from 1999-2004; yet another term as MP from 2004-2009, while he was Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting from October 24, 2006 to 2008, the same year he quit apparently protesting the Cauvery Dispute Tribunal verdict against Karnataka’s interest. Ambareesh had also served Deputy President of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee in 2012 and Ex-Minister in Karnataka Government in the Ministry of Housing (Vasathi).

After that he was not active in politics as all good things have to come to an end, his life also turned sour. The actor turned politician was down with breathing ailments in 2014 and since then he was in and out of hospitals in Bangalore and in the same year, Ambareesh was taken by the family members to the Singapore-based Mount Elizabeth Hospital for further treatment. The last four years he was recuperating and this year on November 24, 2018 (yesterday), Ambareesh was taken ill once again and was rushed to a private hospital in Bangalore. In fact, he had suffered a cardiac arrest from his residence and although the doctors tried to save his life, nevertheless, the end came at 10.15 P.M., where the doctors declared Ambareesh dead.

Ambareesh married Sumalatha on December 8, 1991 and the couple have a son, Abhishek Gowda, who, like his parents is into the film industry.