Purushottam Laxman Deshpande

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

Purushottam Laxman Deshpande[1] (alternatively written as Pu La Deshpande;[2][3] 8 November 1919 – 12 June 2000[4][failed verification]), 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".[5]

Deshpande's works have been translated into several languages including English and Kannada.[6]


Early life[edit]

Purushottam Laxman Deshpande was born in Gamdevi Street, Chowpati, Mumbai in a Gaud Saraswat Brahmin (GSB)[7] family to Laxman Trimbak Deshpande and Laxmibai Laxman Deshpande.[citation needed] His maternal grandfather, Vaman Mangesh Dubhashi, was a Marathi poet and writer. He had translated Rabindranath Tagore's Gitanjali into Marathi, with the title, "Abhang Gitanjali".[8]

The family used to stay at Kenway House, Procter Road in the Grant Road locality in Mumbai. His family then moved to Jogeshwari. His first 8 years at the newly formed Saraswati Baug Colony are described in the story titled 'Balpanicha Kaal Sukhacha' or Bālpaṇicā Kāḷ Sukhācā (translation: the happy days of childhood) in his book Purchundi. The family then moved to Vile Parle.[9] His father was working at Advani Paper Mill on daily wages. He earned Rs. 150/- per month.


Deshpande studied at Parle Tilak Vidyalaya. He attended Ismail Yusuf College after high school and then Government Law College, Mumbai for LLB. Later, he attended Fergusson College in Pune. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in 1950 and then a Master of Arts (MA) degree from Willingdon College, Sangli.[8] He also took lessons in playing the harmonium from Dattopant Rajopadhye of Bhaskar Sangitalaya[citation needed].

Personal life[edit]

His first wife, Sundar Divadkar, died soon after their wedding. On 12 June 1946, Deshpande married his colleague, Sunita Thakur.[8] Thakur was to go on to become an accomplished writer in her own right.[10] The couple did not have any children. They looked upon their nephew, Dinesh Thakur, as an 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 Doordarshan, the state-owned TV channel. 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 this, he spent some time in France and West Germany. It was this specific period and stays in these countries that his later travelogue "Apoorvai" was to be based upon. His other travelogues are "Poorvaranga" and "Jave Tyanchya Desha".[8][9]


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 also participated in several philanthropic activities.[8][9]


P L 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.[11][4] Sunita Deshpande died in 2009.[12]


Most of Deshpande's literary contributions are in the Marathi language.[9] Although he wrote across several genres, he was particularly well known for his works of humor. He also adapted prominent works from other languages into screenplays - scripts - for films in the Marathi. Prominent examples include:

etc. He referred to his adaptations as भावानुवाद (Bhawanuwad or paraphrasing) instead of as conventional "translation"s or "adaptation"s[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 (Var 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) [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[17]
  • Donation to IUCAA Muktangan Vidnyan Shodhika[18]
  • Donation to Neehar, a hostel for the children of sex workers[19]
  • Donation for closed-door auditorium and an open theatre for the blind students at Baba Amte's Anandvan[19]
  • Supporter of Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (Committee for Eradication of blind Superstitions), promoting cultivation of scientific temperament

Pu. La. Deshpande's wife, Sunita Deshpande, donated Rs.25 lakhs to IUCAA towards Muktangan Vidnyan Shodhika, a building aptly named as "PULASTYA" (a name of a star and memory of PULA.) After the demise of Sunita deshpande, the copyrights of most of Pu. La's books were given to IUCAA and the royalties received from Pu La's works is used to spread Science awareness among young kids by IUCAA. [1]


Bhai: Vyakti Ki Valli is the movie released on 4 January 2019 on P L Deshpande directed by Mahesh Manjrekar. 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. [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]


Documentary on Pu. La. Deshpande: This is a Govt. of India Films Division documentary, in which Pu La himself reveals his life journey. It was filmed on the occasion of his 60th birthday. There are two other documentaries made on Pu La:

'Namune', a television serial on 'Sony Sab' channel, based on Deshpande's literature, has the actor, Sanjay Mone, play the role of Deshpande. Along with Sanjay Mone, there are various actors from the Hindi and Marathi film industry.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Socially aware PuLa: A conversation tracing the late writer's service to society". 24 November 2018.
  2. ^ "A documentary ode to Pu La Deshpande in Pune on June 12". The Hindustan Times. 10 June 2018.
  3. ^ "A cultural icon called PuLa who made Marathis laugh at themselves - Times of India". The Times of India.
  4. ^ a b "Pu La Deshpande to come alive on silver screen – Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  5. ^ "Pu La Deshpande Park in Pune". www.punesite.com. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  6. ^ "Two good: Couple of translators bring joy to Kannada, Marathi – Bangalore Mirror -". Bangalore Mirror. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  7. ^ "Economic and Political Weekly, Volume 14". Sameeksha Trust. 1979: 1519. Deshpande a college graduate from a progressive Gaud Saraswat Brahmin community.. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. ^ 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)
  9. ^ a b c d "P.L.Deshpande Maharashtra Kala Academy, Ravindra Natya Mandir, Prabhadevi, Mumbai". pldkalaacademy.org. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  10. ^ "Author Deshpande passes away at 83 – Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  11. ^ PTI (12 June 2000). "Pu La Deshpande passes away". The Indian Express. Retrieved 26 December 2010.
  12. ^ 8 Nov, TNN | Updated; 2009; Ist, 1:54. "Author Deshpande passes away at 83 | Pune News - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 20 September 2019.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  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. ^ "P.L. Deshpande". The Indian Express. 8 November 2020. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  17. ^ Madaan, Neha (27 July 2011). "Pune: 19,000 addicts on the road to recovery". The Times of India – Pune. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  18. ^ "Pulastya – IUCAA's Children's Science Centre". SciPop IUCAA. Archived from the original on 12 November 2012. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  19. ^ a b "P L Deshpande as a philanthropist". Archived from the original on 10 February 2012. Retrieved 8 November 2012.

External links[edit]

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