Purushottam Laxman Deshpande

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Purushottam Laxman Deshpande
Suresh Joshi with P L Deshpandey (cropped).jpg
at Vadodara, Gujarat
Born(1919-11-08)8 November 1919
Died12 June 2000(2000-06-12) (aged 80)
Other namesPurushottam Lakshman Deshpande
P. L. Deshpande
Pu. La.
EducationMA, LLB
OccupationWriter, actor, composer, film and television producer, film director, music director
Spouse(s)Sunita Deshpande
RelativesVaman Mangesh Dubhashi (maternal grandfather)
Satish Dubhashi (cousin brother)

Purushottam Lakshman Deshpande[1][2] (alternatively written Purushottam Laxman Deshpande;[3][4] 8 November 1919 – 12 June 2000[5]), popularly known by his initials ("Pu. La.") or as P. L. Deshpande, was a Marathi writer and humorist from Maharashtra, India. He was also an accomplished film and stage actor, script writer, author, composer, musician (he played the harmonium), singer and orator. He was often referred to as "Maharashtra's beloved personality".[6]

Deshpande's works have been translated into several languages including English and Kannada.[7]


Early life[edit]

Purushottam was born in Gamdevi Area (Kurpal Hemraj Chawl) in Mumbai in a Gaud Saraswat Brahmin[8] family to Laxman Trimbak Deshpande and Laxmibai Laxman Deshpande.[citation needed] His maternal grandfather, Vaman Mangesh Dubhashi, was a poet and connoisseur of literature. He had translated Rabindranath Tagore's Gitanjali into Marathi under the title "Abhang Gitanjali".[9]

The family used to stay at Kenway house (opposite Robert Money School), Proctor road, Grant Road. His family then moved to Jogeshwari within Mumbai where he stayed at the newly formed Saraswati Baug Colony until the age of 8 years. His first 8 years and Saraswati Baug is described in the story titled "Balpanicha Kaal Sukhacha" (translation: the happy days of childhood) in his book Purchundi. The family then moved to Vile Parle.[10]


Deshpande studied at Parle Tilak Vidyalaya.He attended Ismail Yusuf College after high school and then Government law college for LLB. Later he attended Fergusson College in Pune and obtained his Bachelors in Arts, (BA) in 1950 and then obtained his Masters in Arts (MA) from Willingdon college,sangli[9] He also took lessons in playing harmonium from Dattopant Rajopadhye of Bhaskar Sangitalaya[citation needed].

Personal life[edit]

His first wife (the former Ms. Sundar Divadkar from a family in Karjat) died soon after the wedding in the early 1940s. On 12 June 1946, Deshpande married his colleague, Sunita Thakur.[9] Thakur was to go on to become an accomplished writer in her own right.[11] The couple did not have any children, they loved their nephew, Dinesh Thakur like their own son.

Professional life[edit]

Both Deshpande and his wife served as teachers in Orient High School, Mumbai. He also worked for some years as a college professor in Rani Parvati Devi College Belgaum, Karnataka and Kirti College, Mumbai. He also worked for newly founded Doordarshan, the state owned Indian TV. He was the first person to interview the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on Indian television. He was seconded to the BBC for a year-long training. After which he spent some time in France and in West Germany. It was this specific period and stays in these countries that his later travelogue "Apoorvai" was to be based upon. His other travelogue include ”’’ Poorvaranga" and Jave Tyanchya Desha.[9][10]


Pu La Deshpande was a proficient Hindustani classical musician. He went on to gain fame as an author, screenplay writer, actor, director, music director and singer. He participated in several philanthropist activities[9][10]


Deshpande died in Pune, Maharashtra on 12 June 2000 due to complications from Parkinson's disease. He was aged 80. He was survived by his wife Sunita. He died on the 54th anniversary of their wedding.[12][5] sunita died after PL despande in 2009.


Most of Deshpande's literary contributions are deeply rooted in Marathi language.[10] Although he wrote across several genres, he was particularly well-known for his humorist literature. He produced several original works and also adapted of prominent works from other languages into Marathi. Prominent examples include the 1952 film अंमलदार (Ammaldar, based on Nikolai Gogol's Inspector General), the 1962 book काय वाट्टेल ते होईल (Kay Wattel Te Hoeel. Based on translation of Helen and George Papashvily's script of Anything Can Happen) etc. He referred to his adaptations as भावानुवाद (Bhawanuwad or paraphrasing) instead of the conventional "translation" or "adaptation"[citation needed].


  • कुबेर (Kuber) – 1947: actor and playback singer
  • भाग्यरेषा (Bhagyaresha) – 1948: actor and playback singer
  • वंदेमातरम् (Wandemataram) – 1948: actor and playback singer
  • जागा भाड्याने देणे आहे (Jaga Bhadyane Dene ahe) – 1949: screenplay and dialogues
  • मानाचे पान (Manache Pan) – 1949:  – story, screenplay, and dialogues; co-music director in collaboration with Ga Di Madgulkar
  • मोठी माणसे (Mothi Manase) – 1949: music director
  • गोकुळचा राजा (Gokulacha Raja) – 1950: Writer of Story, Screenplay, and Dialogues
  • जरा जपून (Jara Japoon) – 1950: Writer of Screenplay and Dialogues
  • जोहार मायबाप (Johar Maybap) – 1950: Actor
  • नवरा बायको (Nawara Bayako) – 1950: Music Director and Writer of Story, Screenplay, and Dialogues
  • ही वाट पंढरीची (Hi Wat Pandharichi) – 1950: Actor
  • पुढचे पाऊल (Pudhache Paool) – 1950: Actor and Writer of Screenplay and Dialogues in collaboration with Ga Di Madgulkar
  • वर पाहिजे (War Pahije) – 1950: Actor and Writer of Screenplay and Dialogues in collaboration with Achyut Ranade
  • देव पावला (Dewa Pawala) – 1950: Music Director
  • दूध भात (Doodh Bhat) – 1952: Music Director and Writer of Story, Screenplay, Dialogues, and Lyrics
  • घरधनी (Ghardhani) – 1952: Music Director and Writer of Screenplay, Dialogues, and Lyrics
  • नवे बिर्हाड (Nawe Birhad) – 1952: Writer of Story and Screenplay
  • माईसाहेब (Maisaheb) – 1952: Music Director and Writer of Screenplay and Dialogues
  • संदेश (Sandesh) [in Hindi] – 1952: Writer of Story, Screenplay, and Dialogues (translated by Mir Asgar Ali)
  • देवबाप्पा (Dewabappa) – 1952: Music Director and Writer of Story, Screenplay, Dialogues, and Lyrics
  • गुळाचा गणपती (Gulacha Ganapati) – 1953: Director, Music Director, actor, and Writer of Story, Screenplay, Dialogues, and Lyrics[13]
  • फूल और कलियाँ (Phool Aur Kaliyan) [in Hindi] – 1960: Story writer –
  • सुंदर मी होणार ([This novel was adopted to make Hindi movie Aaj Aur Kal [Aaj Aur Kal (1963 film)|Aaj aur Kal]]) [in Hindi] – 1966: Story writer –
  • चिमणराव गुंड्याभाऊ (Chimanarao Gundyabhau) – : Narrator
  • एक होता विदूषक (Ek Hota Vidushak) – 1993: Screenplay and Dialogues

Awards and recognition[edit]

Deshpande on a 2002 stamp of India

Social work[edit]

Pu La Deshpande donated and participated in several social and philanthropic causes.

  • Seed donation to Muktangan Deaddiction and Rehabilitation Center[16]
  • Donation to IUCAA Muktangan Vidnyan Shodhika[17]
  • Donation to Neehar, a hostel for the children of prostitutes[18]
  • Donation for closed-door auditorium and an open theatre for the blind students at Baba Amte's Anandvan[18]
  • Supporter of Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (Committee for Eradication of blind Superstitions), promoting cultivation of scientific temperament


Bhai: Vyakti Ki Valli is the movie released on 4 January 2019 on P L Deshpande directed by Mahesh Manjrekar.[19] The lead role of Deshpande is done by Sagar Deshmukh . The movie was criticized by many for taking unnecessary cinematic liberty, defaming many well known, well respected, and prominent personalities along with Pu La himself; and distortion of facts from the descriptions in books by Pu La himself and Sunitabai’s book Aahe Manohar Tari. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]


Documentary on Pu. La. Deshpande - This is a Films Division documentary in which Pu. La. himself reveals his life journey. It was filmed on occasion of his 60th birthday. There are two other documentaries made on Pu La. One by Mukta Rajadhyakshya and Sudhir Moghe called Ya Sama Haa on his 75th birthday, and Pu La Vruttant, made by Dr. Jabbar Patel, in which Pu La himself talked about his life.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "A documentary ode to Pu La Deshpande in Pune on June 12". The Hindustan Times. 10 June 2018.
  2. ^ "A cultural icon called PuLa who made Marathis laugh at themselves - Times of India". The Times of India.
  3. ^ "'Bhai: Vyakti Ki Valli' trailer: Sagar Deshmukh takes you on rollercoaster ride of humour as he brings PL Deshpande's life on celluloid - Times of India". The Times of India.
  4. ^ "Socially aware PuLa: A conversation tracing the late writer's service to society". 24 November 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Pu La Deshpande to come alive on silver screen – Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  6. ^ "Pu La Deshpande Park in Pune". www.punesite.com. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  7. ^ "Two good: Couple of translators bring joy to Kannada, Marathi – Bangalore Mirror -". Bangalore Mirror. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  8. ^ "Economic and Political Weekly, Volume 14". Sameeksha Trust. 1979: 1519. Deshpande a college graduate from a progressive Gaud Saraswat Brahmin community..
  9. ^ a b c d e Chauhan, K.A. Author); Ray, N.R. (Editor) (1986). DICTIONARY OF NATIONAL BIOGRAPHY (Supplement) Volume I (A-D). Calcutta: N. R. Ray Director, Institute of Historical Studies. pp. 341–342. Retrieved 20 August 2017.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  10. ^ a b c d "P.L.Deshpande Maharashtra Kala Academy, Ravindra Natya Mandir, Prabhadevi, Mumbai". pldkalaacademy.org. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  11. ^ "Author Deshpande passes away at 83 – Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  12. ^ PTI (12 June 2000). "Pu La Deshpande passes away". Indian Express. Retrieved 26 December 2010.
  13. ^ "NFAI acquires handwritten script of Pu La Deshpande's 1953 film 'Gulacha Ganpati'". The Indian Express. 20 November 2015. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  14. ^ a b "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  15. ^ "P.L.Deshpande Maharashtra Kala Academy, Ravindra Natya Mandir, Prabhadevi, Mumbai". pldkalaacademy.org. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  16. ^ Madaan, Neha (27 July 2011). "Pune: 19,000 addicts on the road to recovery". The Times of India – Pune. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  17. ^ "Pulastya – IUCAA's Children's Science Centre". SciPop IUCAA. Archived from the original on 12 November 2012. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  18. ^ a b "P L Deshpande as a philanthropist". Archived from the original on 10 February 2012. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  19. ^ 'Bhai: Vyakti Ki Valli' trailer: [[Sagar Deshmukh takes you on rollercoaster ride of humour as he brings PL Deshpande's life on celluloid], Nitesh Poojari, December 13, 2018

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Gajanan Digambar Madgulkar
Marathi Sahitya Sammelan – President
1974 Ichalkaranji
Succeeded by
Durga Bhagwat