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For the legendary king, see Ambarisha.
Dr M. H. Ambareesh
Indian Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting
In office
24 October 2006 – 15 February 2007
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Succeeded by Choudhury Mohan Jatua & Dr. S. Jagathrakshakan
In office
Preceded by S. M. Krishna
Succeeded by Cheluvarayaswamy
Constituency Mandya
Personal details
Born M. H. Amarnath
(1952-05-29) 29 May 1952 (age 63)
Mandya, Mysore State, India
Political party Indian National Congress
Spouse(s) Sumalatha
Children 1
Residence Bangalore
Profession Actor
Religion Hindu
As of 21 August, 2009

Malavalli Huchche Gowda Amarnath (born 29 May 1952), known mononymously by screen name Ambareesh, is an Indian film actor, media personality and a politician from the Karnataka state. Born and raised at Maddur town in Mandya District of Karnataka, he is fondly referred to as Mandayada Gandu (English: Man of Mandya).[1] Following his debut in Puttanna Kanagal's National Film Award-winning Naagarahaavu (1972), his acting career commenced with a brief phase of portraying antagonistic and supporting characters in Kannada films. After establishing himself as a lead rebellion actor in a number of commercially successful films, he became synonymous with the term "rebel star"[2] and has since continued to hold a matinee idol status in the popular culture of Karnataka state.

He's currently the MLA with the Indian National Congress party, winning the assembly election of the Mandya constituency, by a margin of 42,937 votes.[3][4] He is the present Minister of Housing for the Karnataka State.

Besides winning many State Government awards and filmfare awards for his acting career, Ambareesh was felicitated with the honorary doctorate from the Dharwad university in 2013 at their 63rd annual convocation ceremony.[5]

Early life[edit]

Ambareesh was born into a Gowda family on May 29, 1952, in Doddarasinakere village of Mandya district in the erstwhile Mysore State (now Karnataka). He was named as Malavalli Huchche Gowda Amarnath, and was the sixth of seven children to Huche Gowda and Padmamma. His grandfather was the popular violin player, Chowdiah.[6] Ambareesh completed his schooling in Mandya before moving to Saraswathipuram in Mysore for higher studies. He was a regular street watcher with a bunch of friends at Mysore near the Maharani's college.[7]


Acting career[edit]

While the eminent Kannada film director Puttanna Kanagal was in search of a new face to play a brief antagonist role for his upcoming film, one of Ambareesh's close friend, Sangram Singh, suggested his name for the screen test much against his wishes. At his screen test, he was asked to walk in a certain fashion, utter a dialogue and toss a cigarette in his mouth. Impressed, Kanagal cast him in his 1972 film Naagarahaavu.[8] The film also saw the debut of Vishnuvardhan, another actor who would go on to become one of Kannada cinema's most popular actors.

Ambareesh has since appeared in about 208 films, including other films of Kanagal such as Paduvaaralli Pandavaru, Shubhamangala, Masanada Hoovu and Ranganayaki. As in 2010, Ambareesh had acted in most films as lead in Kannada films, surpassing Rajkumar's record of 206 films as lead actor and Vishnuvardhan's record of 230 films (including Kannada, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam films) as a lead actor. The record has not been broken yet. He has also supported many actors at the beginning of their career.

Ambareesh played the angry young man of the 1980s, and several films were tailor-made accordingly. The earliest of them was the political satire Antha (1981), directed by Rajendra Singh Babu and remade into Hindi and Tamil. This controversial film was the first in India to depict politicians and government officials as corrupt and villainous. Chakravyuha and New Delhi were made on the same lines, the first remade into Hindi as Inquilaab, starring Amitabh Bachchan and the second a remake of the Malayalam hit of the same name. His other notable films include Ranganayaki, Tony, Rani Maharani, Olavina Udugore, Hrudaya Haadithu, Hongkongnalli Agent Amar, Mannina Doni and Odahuttidavaru. His performance in Masanada Hoovu, Elu Suttina Kote and the Malayalam film Gaanam were critically acclaimed. He also showed the great performance in mamateya madilu,elu sutinaa kote and mouna raga. He also acted with legend Rajkumar. He is well known as Mandyada Gandu, Kaliyuga Karna (for his generosity), and Rebel Star. He has been awarded the State award best actor for antha and best supporting role for masanada hoovu, NTR Award by Andhra Pradesh Government,filmfare best actor award for Olavina Udugore and Film Fare Award (lifetime achievement award). He was the first Kannada actor to inaugurate the world famous Mysore Dasara festival organized by the government of Karnataka. He also won the Karnataka Government's Dr.Vishnuvardhan State Award in the year 2011.

Political career[edit]

Ambareesh joined the Indian National Congress and has since continued to represent the same Mandya Lok Sabha constituency for two more terms. He was minister of state for Information and Broadcasting in the 14th Lok Sabha, but resigned over his dissatisfaction with the Cauvery Dispute Tribunal award, though the resignation was not formally accepted. He was defeated in the May 2009 General Elections.He helped in elections for H.D.Kumaraswamy(in kanakapura parliament election in 90s),S.M. Krishna(99) and K.R pete Krishna.

During the course of his public life, he has held the following positions:

  • Member, 12th Lok Sabha: 1998–1999
  • Member, 13th Lok Sabha: 1999–2004
  • Member, 14th Lok Sabha: 2004–2009
  • Minister of State, in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, from 24 October 2006 to 2008.
  • Resigned as the Minister of state in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, protesting against the injustice done to Karnataka by Kaveri dispute tribunal in 2008.
  • Deputy president of KPCC in the year 2012
  • At present MLA of Mandya and also Minister in Karnataka Government in the ministry of Housing (Vasathi)
  • Resigned MP position during Cauvery River issue without fighting member of parliament.

Vishnuvardhan and Ambareesh[edit]

Vishnuvardhan and Ambareesh debuted together in Nagarahavu under Putanna Kanagal's direction. From then they both have been larger than life friends. Though Ambareesh was a villain in many films after Naagarahavu and Vishnu was already a star, their friendship remained the same and even when Ambareesh rose to fame as a hero, though they were on two parallel tracks, they never considered each other as competition and neither did they have any ego problems. When Vishnu departed in 2009, Ambarish was seen handling every bit of his close friend's funeral. From co-ordinating with the stars, to co-ordinating with the government, from shifting the body to managing crowds, he did every thing that the Police and the Government had to do. At one point he even picked up the microphone in the funeral place and shouted at a few frenzied fans and took situation into control.[9] Ambareesh's wife and Vishnuvardhan's good friend, co-star Sumalatha Ambareesh says that she has never seen this kind of friendship in any other Industry between two actors in the peak who remained closest of closest friends throughout their life.[10] They went on to act in Snehitara sawaal,Maha Prachandaru & Avala Hejje in the 80"s. Again they came together in Diggajaru in 2000 and this film is remembered by both their fans as their Best. It also had the memorable hit "Kuchikku, Kuchikku", a song about friendship featuring the two.


Main article: Ambareesh filmography

Awards and recognitions[edit]

  1. Karnataka State Award for Best Actor for Antha in 1982.
  2. Karnataka State Award for "Best Supporting Actor"(1985–86) in the film Masanada Hoovu, directed by Puttanna Kanagal
  3. Filmfare Award for Best Actor in the film "Olavina Udugore directed by Rajendra Babu.
  4. Received NTR National Award for the year 2005.[11]
  5. Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award – South 2009.
  6. Andhra Government honoured Nandhi Award 2009.
  7. Puttanna Kanagal award in 90s but rejected{later went to actor T.N.Bala krishna}
  8. TV9 Sandalwood Star Awards – 2012, Lifetime Achievement Award
  9. Karnataka Government Dr.Vishnuvardhan State Award in the year 2011
  10. Honorary Doctorate from the Karnataka University, Dharwad in the year 2013[12]
  11. SIIMA Lifetime Achievement Award 2012


  1. ^ "‘Mandyada Gandu’ gets rousing welcome". The Hindu. 13 April 2013. 
  2. ^ "When 'Rebel Star' rewinds past days in Mysore". Deccan Herald. 20 September 2014. 
  3. ^ "2013 Karnataka Legislative Assembly Elections Results – Mandya". Election Commission of India. 9 May 2013. Retrieved 18 May 2013. 
  4. ^ "Ambareesh and Umashree manage a win". The Times of India. 12 May 2013. Retrieved 18 May 2013. 
  5. ^ "Ambareesh gets a doctorate degree". The Times of India. 17 February 2013. 
  6. ^ "Ambareesh profile". Media9. 
  7. ^ "When 'Rebel Star' rewinds past days in Mysore". 20 September 2014. 
  8. ^ "Rebel with a cause". The Hindu. 16 October 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2014. 
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ Our Bureau: Ilayaraja, Ambarish, Krishna get NTR award, Indian Express, 31 August 2007.
  12. ^ "Ambareesh gets a doctorate degree". The Times of India. 17 February 2013. Retrieved 18 May 2013. 

External links[edit]