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Kannada actor-turned-politician Ambareesh passes away at 66

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On Saturday evening following a massive heart attack, Kannada actor-turned-politician Ambareesh passed away in a private hospital in Bengaluru. He was 66-years-old.

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Ambareesh had a huge fan following and was known as the ‘Rebel Star’ at the peak of his popularity. In 1972, he started his career with negative roles before becoming a leading man in movies.

Hailing from the Mandya district Karnataka, he went on to represent the region in parliament. During Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government, Ambareesh was a minister. Though he was also a legislator in the state assembly but was dropped from the Karnataka cabinet in the Congress regime that preceded the current coalition government.

The Karnataka government said his funeral will be held with full state honours and has declared a three-day state mourning and. CM HD Kumaraswamy said his body will be kept at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru for people to pay their last respects. While condoling the death of the actor and veteran Congress leader, Mr Kumaraswamy called him a rebel who was loved by all.

Special buses are arranged from all taluks of Mandya district to ferry people who want to pay homage to the actor. Often referred to as ‘Mandya da Gandu’ (Man of Mandya), Mr Kumaraswamy stated “We have to build a memorial for him there.”

Ambareesh has acted in over 200 films, spanning over four-decade-long movie career. He started his career with film ‘Naagarahaavu’ (king cobra), which was directed by legendary filmmaker Puttanna Kannagal in 1972. He earned critical acclaim for his acting skills in films like Paduvarahalli Pandavaru, Masanada Hoovu, Elu Suttina Kote, Shubhamangala, Antha and Masanada Hoovu.

Recently, Ambareesh had mediated in a sexual harassment case in the film industry in which an actress accused actor Arjun Sarja of inappropriate behaviour amid the #MeToo movement.

As soon as the news of his demise spread, crowds immediately began to gather at the private hospital in Bengaluru. Fellow actors and senior politicians also headed to the hospital to pay their respects.

Former chief minister Siddaramaiah took to Twitter and tweeted condolences. He said in his tweet that the rebel star was not only a great actor and a proven politician, but also a great human being.

Even superstar Rajinikanth too was among those who condoled his death. “A wonderful human being … my best friend … I have lost you today and will miss you … Rest In Peace #Ambrish,” he tweeted.

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