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Pu La Deshpande
Deshpande, c. 1974
Purushottam Laxman Deshpande

(1919-11-08)8 November 1919
Died12 June 2000(2000-06-12) (aged 80)
Other namesP. L. Deshpande
Pu. La.
(m. 1946)
RelativesVaman Mangesh Dubhashi (maternal grandfather)
Satish Dubhashi (cousin brother)
Dinesh Thakur (nephew)

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

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

Early life

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]


Deshpande studied at Parle Tilak Vidyalaya. He attended Ismail Yusuf College after high school and then Fergusson College in Pune for BA. Later, he attended Government Law College, Mumbai for LLB. He completed 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

His first wife, Sundar Divadkar, died soon after their wedding. On 12 June 1946, Deshpande married his colleague, Sunita Thakur.[8] She (Sunita Deshpande) was to go on to become an accomplished writer in her own right.[10] The couple did not have any children of their own. They raised Sunitabai's nephew, Dinesh Thakur as their own son. Pu La wrote on Dinesh in his book Gangot.

Professional life


1."Vyakti Ani Valli" (व्यक्ती आणि वल्ली): This book is a collection of character sketches, portraying various eccentric personalities from Deshpande's life. Each character is brought to life with humor and wit, reflecting the diverse and colorful spectrum of human nature.

2."Batatyachi Chaal" (बटाट्याची चाळ): A humorous depiction of life in a chawl (a type of communal housing) in Mumbai, the book captures the quirky and endearing lives of its inhabitants, illustrating their daily struggles and camaraderie with a comedic touch.

3."Apoorvai" (अपूर्वाइ): This is a travelogue recounting Deshpande's experiences in Europe. Written with his characteristic humor, the book offers insightful and amusing observations about European culture and lifestyle.

4."Asa Mi Asami" (असा मी असामी): A satirical autobiography, this novel presents the life of a common man through a series of humorous episodes, highlighting the absurdities and ironies of middle-class existence in India.

5."Ti Phulrani" (ती फुलराणी): An adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's play "Pygmalion," this Marathi play tells the story of a flower girl who is transformed into a refined lady under the guidance of a professor. It retains the original's critique of social class distinctions while adding Deshpande's unique comedic flair.

6."Jave Tyanchya Desha" (जावे त्यांच्या देशा): Another travelogue, this book describes Deshpande's visit to various countries, filled with humorous anecdotes and reflections on the cultural differences he encounters.

7."Guna Gaiin Awadi" (गुण गाईन आवडी): A collection of essays that blend humor with philosophical insights, showcasing Deshpande's ability to find comedy in everyday situations while pondering deeper meanings.


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 in Karnataka and Kirti College in 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]

Film and music

Deshpande was a man of many talents. Apart from writing, the talents he used in filmmaking included writing screenplays, directing, acting, composing music, and singing. He was instrumental in establishing the iconic Bal Gandharva Ranga Mandir in Pune. He was a proficient in Hindustani classical music.He composed music for many marathi films of 1940s and '50s including 'Amaldar', 'Gulacha Ganapati', 'Ghardhani', 'Chokhamela', 'Dudhbhat', 'Dev Pavla', 'Devbappa', 'Navrabayako', 'Nave Birhad', 'Manache Paan' and 'Mothi Manase'.[8][11] He was also the composer for many popular non-film songs in the "bhavegeet" genre sung by singers such as Jyotsna Bhole, Manik Varma and Asha Bhosale.


Deshpande died in Pune, Maharashtra, on 12 June 2000, due to complications from Parkinson's disease. He was aged 80. He died on the couple's 54th wedding anniversary.[12][13]

Main article: Purushottam Laxman Deshpande bibliography

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:

The marathi book eka koliyane ( एका कोळीयानें )is translation ( भावानुवाद ) of earnest Hemingway's book old man and the sea== Bibliography ==.[14]

He referred to his adaptations as भावानुवाद (Bhawanuwad or paraphrasing) instead of as conventional "translation"s or "adaptation"s [citation needed].


Awards and recognition

Deshpande on a 2002 stamp of India

Social work

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

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.[23][verification needed]

In popular culture

Films and television


Documentary on Pu. La. Deshpande:[27] 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:

See also


  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. 18 November 2018.
  3. ^ "Socially aware PuLa: A conversation tracing the late writer's service to society". 24 November 2018.
  4. ^ "Death Anniversary of P.L. Deshpande". Mintage World -. 12 June 2019. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  5. ^ "Pu La Deshpande Park in Pune". Archived from the original on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 1 November 2017.((cite web)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  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)): 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. ((cite book)): |first1= has generic name (help)
  9. ^ a b c "P.L.Deshpande Maharashtra Kala Academy, Ravindra Natya Mandir, Prabhadevi, Mumbai". Archived from the original on 15 July 2016. Retrieved 1 November 2017.((cite web)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  10. ^ "Author Deshpande passes away at 83 – Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  11. ^ Mishra, Garima (2015). "NFAI acquires handwritten script of Pu La Deshpande's 1953 film 'Gulacha Ganpati". Indian Express. No. November 20, 2015. The express group. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
  12. ^ PTI (12 June 2000). "Pu La Deshpande passes away". The Indian Express. Retrieved 26 December 2010.
  13. ^ "Pu La Deshpande to come alive on silver screen – Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  14. ^ Uwe Böker; Ines Detmers; Anna-Christina Giovanopoulos (2006). John Gay's The Beggar's Opera, 1728-2004: adaptations and re-writings. Rodopi. pp. 7, 26–27. ISBN 90-420-2113-6.
  15. ^ "NFAI acquires handwritten script of Pu La Deshpande's 1953 film 'Gulacha Ganpati'". The Indian Express. 20 November 2015. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  16. ^ a b "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 October 2022. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  17. ^ "P.L.Deshpande Maharashtra Kala Academy, Ravindra Natya Mandir, Prabhadevi, Mumbai". Archived from the original on 29 June 2014. Retrieved 1 November 2017.((cite web)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  18. ^ "P.L. Deshpande". The Indian Express. 8 November 2020. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  19. ^ "डिजिटल फॉन्टमधील पुलंच्या अक्षरलेखनाची जादू". Loksatta. 12 June 2021. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  20. ^ Madaan, Neha (27 July 2011). "Pune: 19,000 addicts on the road to recovery". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 3 January 2013. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  21. ^ "Pulastya – IUCAA's Children's Science Centre". SciPop IUCAA. Archived from the original on 12 November 2012. Retrieved 8 November 2012.((cite web)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  22. ^ a b "P L Deshpande as a philanthropist". Archived from the original on 10 February 2012. Retrieved 8 November 2012.((cite web)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  23. ^ "IUCAA has copyrights of Pu La's works, say his kin | Pune News". The Times of India. 9 September 2018.
  24. ^ "Gola Berij". ZEE5.
  25. ^ "Prabha Atre decries guru's portrayal in Pu La biopic". The Times of India. 30 January 2019. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  26. ^ "'Namune' to bring writer P.L. Deshpande alive on small screen (TV Snippets)". IANS. 14 July 2018. Archived from the original on 3 October 2022. Retrieved 23 October 2023 – via Business Standard.
  27. ^ A Very Rare Documentary on Pu La Deshpande 60th Birthday | पु ल देशपांडे. अतिशय दुर्लभ चित्रफीत, retrieved 27 August 2021