He was also an acclaimed film and stage actor, script writer and orator. He was also a musician; he used to play the harmonium. His books are filled with humour along with various other shades of moods. And each book portrayed the nature of people and the way they led their respective lives. And all his works have been translated into several languages including English and Kannada. Now just so as you know, Marathi Literature is the oldest of the regional literature in Indo-Aryan along with Bengali Literature.
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He was a gentle multi-talented author of the comic genre, translator, harmonium-player, film-director, actor, aficionado of music and life in general etc. His wit and command over the Marathi language, his wisdom clothed in humour, his life and the way he lived it is still an inspiration for many. A national treasure, he enriched the life of many and doubtless was an inspiration to many. Being an actor, his book-readings too were extremely popular. The audio cassettes of his book-readings are highly popular to this day, many years after his death.
His apt obituary from The Independent London is so well-worded that I need not say more. Am reproducing it fully, below. Obituary: P. Deshpande, who died aged 81 in the city of Pune, his longtime base of operations, was known as "Mr Multi-Media Man" and indeed there was almost no area of popular and intellectual culture within Maharashta that he had not dominated for decades.
Deshpande was a lifelong socialist resister and radical who, despite his vast fame, never really accepted the status quo. More recently the Shiv Sena party government created a special award for him but at their lavish presentation ceremony he strongly condemned the "Fascist tendencies" of Shiv Sena, whose infamous chief Bal Thackeray - a lifelong fan of the writer - derided Deshpande in response. When he visited London on one of his regular global peregrinations in search of copy he made a special trip to visit Dulwich College to pay homage to the Alma Mater of his favourite writer, P.
Purushottam Laxman Deshpande was born in Bombay and attended Fergusson College, where he set up a literary circle: "We ran it with complete confidence that the future of Marathi literature rested only in our hands. His love of literature was reflected by the series of public readings of Marathi poetry that he set up with his wife and which became sell-out stadium events.
Indeed his harmonium tapes were a staple at every Marathi home, where few social gatherings would end without some discussion of Pu La and his activities. Deshpande made his first film, Kuber, in , in which he was acting and play-back singing; by Mothi Manse in he created the music; and he spent the next decades on countless movies in which he was either actor, play-back singer, composer, narrator or writer. On his last film, Ek Hota Vidooshak , Deshpande created the screenplay and dialogue.
In his first play, Tuka Mhane Ata, was staged and was his one and only flop, soon followed by years of hits, as appreciated by critics as the common audience. Perhaps his signature work was the play Batatyachi Chaal about a ramshackle Bombay apartment building, which is one of the few of his works translated into English. Deshpande had been sent for television training with the BBC in and subsequently produced the first television programme broadcast by Delhi Doordarshan the following year.
When he received an award from the vocalist Pandit Joshi the audience gave him a spontaneous standing ovation and Deshpande gave all the money to the Asiatic Society of Bombay for the preservation of old books. Deshpande led a determinedly simple life and pumped his considerable wealth into his own eponymous foundation, whose largesse was unstinting.
Its first donation may have been to translate the best Marathi books into braille but the Deshpande Foundation supports everything from a hostel for the children of prostitutes near Pune to a science laboratory at a village school for children displaced by the Koyna earthquake. All his prizes, medals and decorations are on display in his own museum in that city, the "PL Gaurav Darshan".
This also stocks the best-selling videocassette on his life Pu La Vruttant and his pictorial autobiography Chitramay Swagat. Deshpande had the modesty of all truly popular cultural figures and knew the limits of his appeal: My writing is primarily parody-based.
I was the least bothered about its literary value or its being outdated with the passage of time. I was glad that readers enjoyed my books greatly. The smile on their faces is my acknowledgement.
9 Pu La Deshpande Books That Are So Amusing
Purushottam Laxman Deshpande
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