The South has been famous for throwing up actor politicians, and the tradition of NTRs, MGRs and Jayalalithas continues even today, with Ambareesh, being the latest in the chain - but this time coming from Karnataka. Another southern trait he seems to have borrowed is the fascination for using single names. In his own case, he uses the name “Ambareesh” in place of his unwieldy real name: Malavalli Huchche Gowda Amarnath.
He seems to have managed well in his dual role as a busy film actor and an equally active politician, having been ministers both in the central and state governments at various points of time. The roles that he has portrayed in his over 200 films, spanning all three major southern languages, have in many ways been trend setters for Indian cinema - like the “angry young man” roles that
Amitabh Bachchan later became famous for, as also the portrayal of the corrupt politician criminal nexus in films.
Although he has just one Hindi film to his credit, “Zehreela Insaan”, a remake of his 1972 National Award winning debut film “
Naagarahaavu”, his acting prowess is well known all over the south and his portrayal of roles of different shades with equal dexterity has brought for him several awards in his close to 43 years long yet unbroken film career. He already has added several laurels to his name both at the national and state levels, most significant of which have been the Filmfare award in 1987 for “Olavina Udugore”, and the Karnataka State Film Award for Best Actor in 1981 for the film “Antha”. Starting with quite unpretentious beginnings from Mandya, his entry into films was both sudden and unexpected. He never on his own wanted to work in films, but was almost dragged into it on the persuasion of one of his close friends who had recommended him to the director. But having entered films, he has never looked back.
Ambareesh, who had been the Minister of state, in Information and Broadcasting during
Manmohan Singh reign, is married to “
Sumalatha,” a talented, multi-lingual actress. The couple has a son,
Abhishek Ambareesh. Ambareesh’s friendship with “
Vishnuvardhan” had always been a surprising one for the film industry people, as well as the public. They had a good wavelength and hence they could carry it out for long.
Ambareesh had also received a lot of prestigious awards including Karnataka State Award for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award, NTR National Award, Andhra Government Nandi Award, TV 9 Sandalwood Star Awards, Dr Vishnuvardhan Award, SIIMA Lifetime Achievement Award and an Honorary Doctorate from Karnataka University in Dharwad. Ambareesh was last seen in
Ambi Ning Vayassaytho with “
Sudeep.” Ambareesh, who had Kidney ailments, got a massive cardiac arrest on 24th November 2018 and left to the eternal world. Even before his film “
Kurukshetra” with Darshan Thoogudeep releases, he closed his eyes. Ambi played Bheeshma in the film. His death is a great loss to the Sandalwood. Right from the Prime Minister,
Narendra Modi, almost all the national political leaders and the celebrities, expressed their condolences for Ambareesh’s death.