I present to you, Sir,
Shri Purushottam Laxman
P.L. or Pu La as he is affectionately known to his public, was born on November 8, 1919, and celebrated his ‘diamond’ Jubilee as Maharashtra’s pre-eminent theatre personality, in 1979. Shri Deshpande’s distinguished career in the arts began with an interest in music. This led him on to theatre and to writing, but a serious involvement with classical music remains an abiding factor.
P. L. worked in as many as 25 films, but left that commercial field for theatre where he rocketed to fame with his tour de force, the one-man show, “Batatyach Chawl” in 1961. The satirical humour, versatile acting and humanistic insight he brought to his interpretation in the sketches of middle class life soon made his name a household word throughout Maharashtra. He is equally wellknown and loved as a writer of incomparable satire and a humourist with a compassion for human failings. Shri Deshpande has been honoured by several awards, including Padma Shri by the Government of India, the Sahitya Akademi Award for Marathi literature, while the Rabindra Bharati University, Calcutta conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Literature in 1979. He has been President of both the Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Natya Sammelan and Sahitya Sammelan. He was also Vice- Chairman of the Sangeet Natak Akademl, New Delhi.
A distinctive contribution made by this humanitarian artist has been his consistent support to several charities to which he has made generous donations. For his eminence in the field of literature and the performing arts and contribution to their enrichment Shri P. L. Deshpande has been elected Fellow of the Akademi.