Malavalli Huchche Gowda Amarnath (29 May 1952 – 24 November 2018), known by his screen name Ambareesh, was an Indian actor, media personality and politician from the State of Karnataka. Alongside Rajkumar and Vishnuvardhan, he is counted in Kannada cinema's "triumvirate" as its most celebrated actors.With his debut in Puttanna Kanagal's National Award winning Kannada film Naagarahaavu (1972), Ambareesh's acting career commenced with a brief phase of portraying antagonistic and supporting characters. After establishing himself as a lead actor portraying rebellious characters on screen in a number of commercially successful films, he earned the moniker "rebel star". He also earned the nickname Mandyada Gandu (English: Man of Mandya) and continues to hold a matinee idol status in the popular culture of Karnataka.
After joining politics in 1994, Ambareesh became a three-time member of the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament representing Mandya, first from Janata Dal and the latter two times from the Indian National Congress, a member of which he remained till his death. During the third term, he briefly served as the Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, between October 2006 and February 2007, as part of the First Manmohan Singh ministry. Between 2013 and 2016, he was a member of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly and served as the Minister of Housing during the time as part of the Siddaramaiah cabinet.Besides winning many State Film awards and Filmfare Awards South during his acting career, Ambareesh was honoured with the honorary doctorate from the Karnatak University in 2013. He is also a recipient NTR National Award, Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award – South and Dr. Vishnuvardhan Award, all awarded recognizing lifetime achievements and contribution to cinema. Having suffered from a breathing problem starting 2014, Ambareesh died four years later.
Ambareesh developed breathing problems in 2014 and was hospitalized frequently. In March that year, he was taken to Singapore's Mount Elizabeth Hospital for treatment. On 24 November 2018, he was taken to a private hospital in Bangalore after he suffered from a cardiac arrest at his residence. Efforts to revive him failed and was pronounced dead at 10:15 p.m. (IST). Following his death, Ambareesh's remains were taken to Sree Kanteerava Stadium where political leaders, members of the film industry and fans were allowed to pay homage the following day. It attracted a total of around 100,000 people. The remains were airlifted to Sir M. Visvesvaraya Stadium in Mandya at 5 p.m. (IST) that day. After having briefly kept for public viewing there, they were flown back to Bangalore on 26 November and carried in a cortege on a procession from Sree Kanteerava Stadium to Kanteerava Studios, for a distance of 13.5 kilometres (8.4 mi), where his funeral was held. Ambareesh was cremated with full state honours and also received a 21-gun salute. The final rites were performed by his son, Abhishek, at 5:55 p.m. (IST) that evening. Ambareesh was cremated next to the memorial of his contemporary and friend, Rajkumar.
Ambareesh's death was met with an outpouring of grief from politicians, members of the South Indian film industry and fans from Karnataka. The Government of Karnataka declared a three-day mourning period as a mark of respect. Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled his death and said, " a strong voice for Karnataka's welfare, at the state and central level". Chief Minister of Karnataka H. D. Kumaraswamy termed that his death ended "an era of love and affection in Kannada film industry" while adding that " was a rebel who was loved by all. He has carved a unique place in both politics and films". Other politicians who expressed grief included former Chief Ministers of Karnataka, Siddaramaiah and B. S. Yeddyurappa, State cabinet ministers, R. V. Deshpande and U. T. Khader, and former colleagues at the INC, G. Parameshwara, Dinesh Gundu Rao and Ramya among others.
Actor Rajinikanth remarked, "My friendship with Ambareesh is of over 40 years and deeply saddened by his death. Everyone will have a few close friends. But Ambareesh, I think, had over a 100 close friends. He lived like a king till the day he died and all he earned were people." Mammootty recalled Ambareesh as one of his "one of first real friends" while condoling his death. Mohanlal termed his death "heartbreaking". Kamal Haasan offered "heartfelt condolences" and called Ambareesh his "friend for 42 years". Other film personalities who expressed grief included Amitabh Bachchan, R. Sarathkumar, Khushbu Sundar, Rajendra Singh Babu, Shiva Rajkumar, Sudeep, Darshan and Yogaraj Bhat among others.