There can be many actors but there will never be a friend like him, is what instantly flashes across the minds of everyone who knew Malavalli Huchchegowda Amarnath, who we all knew most fondly as Rebel Star Ambareesh. From star actors, celebrities from diverse fields, politicians, fans, the actor who immortalised the character of “Jaleela” from his debut movie Nagarahaavu will be dearly missed as a good friend and a greater human being. In true sense, he was a man who always supported his innumerable friends throughout his life. He led life with a flamboyance, and created a trademark style of his own.
A style that will be remembered by all. The list of his closest pals is exhaustive — to mention a few — Super Star Rajinikanth, Chiranjeevi, Mohan Babu, Shatrughan Sinha, Suhasini, Ambika, Kamal Hassan and numerous others. Yet, his special bond with the late Dr Vishnuvardhan is known to be the best friendship in the Kannada film industry. They were known as “kucchiku.” Bengaluru Chronicle remembers the friendly actor who celebrated his life to the fullest, spreading happiness through friendship and love.
“Many call him by several names but it is ‘Amaranath’ which I feel suited his personality better as he will remain immortal. His friendship will remain immortal. He was like an elephant, someone who would troubleshoot any problem by himself. However, he was like a child too, who would run away seeing a small injection needle,” recollects Crazy Star V Ravichandran, who started his acting journey in Chakravyuha along with him. He was an antagonist and Ambareesh was the hero in it.
He goes on to share that during the film shoot, he hit Ambareesh on his face during a fight sequence, which hurt him very badly, and due to which he ran across the film set in pain. “He came back to me and enquired in his (typical) style — how to make it look real without actually punching! I still remember it to this date.”
It is undoubtedly, Super Star Rajinikanth who was the Rebel Star’s favourite actor and his Padeyappa movie was his all-time favourite Rajini film. The Super Star, while remembering Ambi (as he fondly called him) shares that he had recently been to Bengaluru to attend his brother’s granddaughter’s wedding and he couldn’t meet Ambi in person. “On a few occasions, I had missed visiting his home. And when I called this time, he threatened to kill me if I missed the next (on a lighter note),” Rajini said in tears, after paying his last respects to his close friend.
Likewise, he shared a cordial relationship with matinee idol late Dr Rajkumar. Renowned, director SK Bhagwan of the Dorai-Bhagwan duo who directed Odahuttidavaru which starred both Dr Rajkumar and Ambareesh, says that Dr Rajkumar was very fond of Ambareesh. “He loved his company and would always have the most jovial conversations with him. Though Rajkumar was such a great actor and a legend, he insisted that one erect cut-outs in equal sizes of both him and Ambareesh during the release of the film Odahuttidavaru. In fact, Rajkumar would get Ambareesh the best of costumes for him to portray his younger brother’s role,” he adds.
A truly colourful personality, the Reber Star had friends across various fields. “He was the only person who sounded sweet even when he scolded anyone in anger. He was very dear to our family. Ambi Anna hasn’t left us, he will remain in all our memories,” shares actor Shivarajkumar.
One of his close friends, Telugu star actor Mohan Babu says that Ambareesh was his number one friend in life, and he still cannot believe that such a great personality is no more.
“I had the good fortune to do quite a few shows with Ambi Sir. The most recent one was a TV show. He was the guest and I was dressed as a yesteryear heroine and was also the host! I was stumped when Ambi Sir in his usual flamboyant style made everyone laugh with his one-liners and with his “kanwarlal” act, and his generosity with the crew members. I have also heard numerous stories — like when people went to his house seeking his help, no one returned empty handed! Suddenly, it feels like KFI has lost one of its strongest members!” actress Neethu Shetty shared.
The rebel star was last seen in Ambi Ninge Vayassaytho which means ‘Ambareesh you are old now.’ During the release of the film, he was unwell and went in an ambulance to watch the film. It was his wife’s movie Thayige Thakka Maya that he last watched in a theatre and expressed joy seeing his better half act on the big screen. He was seen wishing the best to Yash and Radhika Pandit at the baby shower function recently held in a star hotel. And true to his benevolent nature, he had expressed anguish at the recent bus tragedy on the night he passed away. Here was a man who was a friend to many... a man who celebrated being human in the best way possible. Ambi Sir, your loss is irreplaceable.
— Inputs by Ikyatha Yerasala...