Karnataka: Mortal remains of Ambareesh consigned to flames
The mortal remains of leading Kannada actor and politician Ambareesh were consigned to flames with full state honours after thousands of his fans paid a tearful homage to the star, who had cast a spell on them in his more than four-decades-long film career.
Amid chanting of Vedic hymns, a teary-eyed Abhishek, Ambareesh's son, performed the last rites and lit the pyre in the presence of thousands of mourners, including people from the film industry and politics.
As the pyre went up in flames, Abhishek and Ambareesh's actress-wife Sumalatha broke down and were inconsolable. Ambareesh's close friend and Telugu film actor Mohan Babu could not control his grief and burst into tears many times.
Chief minister H D Kumaraswamy, deputy chief minister G Parameshwara and former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda placed wreaths on the body of Ambareesh and paid their last respects.
BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa, former Maharashtra chief minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, actress-politician Jayaprada and a host of film actors and actresses from South India and politicians were among those who paid their last respects to the departed soul.
Wrapped in the tri-colour, Ambareesh's body was Sunday evening taken to Mandya, his home district, where tens of thousands stood in long queues to have a final glimpse of the actor.
The body was brought back to Bengaluru on Monday noon for the last rites to be performed. A large funeral procession followed as the hearse, bedecked with 1,800 kg of flowers, wound its way from the Kanteerava Stadium to the Kanteerava Studio covering 12 km, amid tight security.
Elaborate security arrangements were made with the deployment of 11,000 men in uniform, comprising the city police, three battalions of Reserved Armed Force (RAF), 30 battalions of Karnataka State Reserved Police (KSRP) and 34 battalions ofCity Armed Reserve battalions.
Four Additional Commissioners of Police and 15 Deputy Commissioners of Police oversaw the security arrangements all along the procession route, police said.
Traffic came to a grinding halt in the city on several major roads as the funeral procession passed through with thousands of people gathered on both sides. Ambareesh, a three-time Lok Sabha member and also a former minister at the state and central levels passed way on Saturday after a prolonged illness.
He is survived by his wife and a son.
Known as a "rebel star", Ambareesh had acted in over 200 films.
Entering the tinsel world through the movie 'Nagarahavu' (king cobra), directed by veteran late PuttannaKannagal in 1972, Ambareesh had carved a niche for himself inthe Kannada film industry, particularly as an "angry man",earning the title "rebel star".
Ambareesh also had a successful career in politics, having been an MLA, a Lok Sabha member and a former minister. He had been in the erstwhile Janata Dal, JDS and the
Congress in his political career that suffered a setback when he was asked to resign as a minister during the previous Siddaramaiah government.
Since then, Ambareesh had faded into political obvilion. Ambareesh had won the several state government film awards and was bestowed with an honorary doctorate by the Karnatak University.
(With inputs from agencies.)