BENGALURU: With thousands of fans mourning the sudden demise of actor-politician M H Ambareesh, a palpable sense of grief engulfed the venues in Bengaluru and later in Mandya where his mortal remains were kept for public viewing on Sunday. The last rites will be held in Bengaluru on Monday.
Over 1 lakh people — from the common man to celebrities and from fans to friends — gathered at Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru to pay their last respects. Many of them waited in queues for hours to have a glimpse of their hero, before his mortal remains were taken to Mandya by an Indian Air Force helicopter at 4pm. Police officials had a tough time controlling the fans.
Besides the general public, who had come from different parts of the state, eminent members of the South Indian film industry and netas came to pay homage. Former PM H D Deve Gowda, former CM Siddaramaiah, actors Rajinikanth, Chiranjeevi and Shivarajkumar were among those present.
Telugu actor Mohan Babu was inconsolable while teary-eyed Rajinikanth and Chiranjeevi consoled Ambareesh’s wife Sumalatha and son Abhishek.
Many fans, however, had to return disappointed, since the body had to be shifted to HAL airport to be airlifted to Mandya.
Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy flew to Mandya with the mortal remains. As the chopper touched down at Sir M Visvesvaraya Stadium in the evening, thousands of people waiting restlessly to see their idol, screamed and cried. They had come from adjoining districts to have a last look at their ‘Rebel Star’.
Members of the entire Kannada film industry and state politicians rushed to Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru to bid adieu to Ambareesh. Superstar Rajinikanth, Telugu actor Chiranjeevi and his wife Surekha, Tamil actor Sarath Kumar, Telugu actor and former MP Mohan Babu, his son Vishnu Manchu were among the celebrities from the film fraternity who came to pay tribute.
Mandya observed a voluntary bandh with commercial establishments, including hotels, shops and cinema halls, remaining closed for the day. Several farmers also stayed away from agricultural activities to have one last glimpse of their hero. Portraits praying for his rebirth were seen along the Bengaluru-Mysuru highway.
Ambareesh’s mortal remains will be brought back to Bengaluru on Monday morning, and will be kept for viewing at Kanteerava Stadium till afternoon before being taken to Kanteerava Studios for the funeral. The police have made elaborate security arrangements along the 13-km route for the funeral procession from the stadium to the studio.