Thousands bid emotional adieu to Kannada actor Ambareesh

Thousands of people, including celebrities and political leaders, bid an emotional farewell to iconic Kannada actor M.H. Ambareesh at a state funeral here on Monday.

Ambareesh, 66, popularly known as a 'rebel star', died on Saturday night following a cardiac arrest at a hospital.

Ambareesh's only son Abhishek lit the funeral pyre after the state reserve police gave a gun salute and a police band sounded the bugle at the state-run Kanteerava Studio in the city's northwest suburb.

The last rites were performed as per Vokkaliga tradition and about 250 kg of firewood, including sandalwood, was used for the pyre.

The funeral site of the former Lok Sabha member from Congress and ex-Union Minister in the Studio is located adjacent to the memorial of Kannada matinee idol Rajkumar, who passed away in April 2006.

The funeral was delayed by two hours as the flower-bedecked cortege, carrying the body in a glass casket, took more than three hours to reach the Studio from the Kanteerava Stadium in the city centre.

Though vehicular traffic was cleared for the funeral procession on the 15 km route and hundreds of police personnel were deployed en route, the cortege moved slowly as lakhs thronged the route for a final glimpse of the popular actor, draped in tricolour with the famous Mysuru 'peta' (headgear) crowning his head.

Sandalwood stars Srinath, Jai Jagadish, Shiva Rajkumar, Puneeth Rajkumar, Upendra and Jaggesh, Telugu actor Mohan Babu and multi-lingual actress Jaya Prada were among the many from film world who attended the funeral.

Congress General Secretary K.C. Venugopal, Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara, many cabinet ministers, including D.K. Shivakumar and H.D. Revanna, Congress state President Dinesh Gundu Rao, BJP state unit president B.Y. Yeddyurappa and other political leaders and lawmakers were present at the funeral.

Ambareesh entered filmdom through the role of 'Jaleel' in veteran director Puttanna Kanagal's "Naagarahaavu" in 1972 and has acted in over 200 films since then.

RIP Ambareesh garu. Love and strength to Sumalatha garu and the family.

RIP Ambareesh garu. Deepest condolences to Sumalatha garu and family .

Heartbreaking to hear about the loss of my dear brother and friend Ambareesh... my deepest condolences to the family. Love and prayers.

Deeply upset & hurt that one of our best friends, son of the soil, an actor and a super-star in films as well as in politics of Karnataka, par excellence, our dear Ambareesh is no more. We (Rajnikant, Mohun Babu, Chiranjivi of Andhra & Ambreesh have been birds of the same feather

grieved to learn of the passing of a colleague Ambareesh .. condolences and prayers

A wonderful human being ... my best friend ... I have lost you today and will miss you ... Rest In Peace #Ambrish

In the passing of Ambareesh Ji, the Congress family has lost a valuable member. He was a famous son of Karnataka, whose work as an actor & and in politics, won him a huge following both in the state & across India. My condolences to his family and friends in this time of grief.

Shri Ambareesh will always be remembered for his memorable performances as an actor and extensive contribution to politics. He was a strong voice for Karnataka’s welfare, at the state and central level. Pained by his demise. Condolences to his family & admirers: PM @narendramodi