When others would rummage through the phone book to find a number, he would simply recall it from his memory; when others would respectfully whisper in the chief minister’s presence, he would be himself and laugh at a joke loudly; and when others would be spectators in a party, he would be the life of it.
Ambareesh was always the centre of attraction wherever he went and he loved it. His natural manner with people helped him build a wide network of friends here and overseas. When we co-starred in films, I would be surprised at the number of on-the-set visitors and food carriers coming in.
He enjoyed the company of friends, good food and drinks. His parties were warm and entertaining. He had no inhibitions. He would sing, dance and entertain all like nobody could.
Suddenly, he would take someone to task if they failed to treat his guests well. Many of his close associates enjoyed being scolded, even as he used expletives. They knew he meant well.
As an actor he has done hundreds of films. At the peak of his career, he was Robin Hood, angry young man, rebel with a cause all rolled into one. Vishnuvardhan and I used to meet Ambareesh often at his place. I used to enjoy watching their moments of friendship. He used to tell me stories of how he used to zip across from Mysuru to Bengaluru in those days of single lane.
Many a times when I visited him at his house, I have seen him glued to TV, watching sports events. He would follow tennis, cricket and badminton. His signature guffaw and his straight comments would make those around him burst into laughter.
Beneath his tough exterior, I could easily sense a doting and sensitive father. Abhishek was the apple of his eye. When Ambareesh was a guest on my ‘Weekend with Ramesh’ show, he opened up about his life. At the end of the shoot, all his close friends told me it was the longest time he had sat in a single place so happy and so balanced.
A proper way to look at a person’s life is to think about the number of happy pleasant memories we have about that person. I have more than my share of good memories with the Rebel Star. Farewell, Sir.