In celebration of ‘Maharashtra’s most beloved personality’, Purushottam Laxman Deshpande, also known as Pu La Deshpande, Google dedicated Sunday’s doodle to the multi-talented Indian for his 101st birth anniversary.
Illustrated by the Mumbai-based guest artist Sameer Kulavoor, the doodle for November 8, gives us a glimpse into the achievements of the legendary Indian writer, film and stage actor, composer, musician, singer and orator, philanthropist and humorist. He was widely regarded as a popular culture icon of his time for his sharp observations of life, and his signature style of joyful humour and satire.
Purushottam Laxman Deshpande was born in Mumbai on November 8, 1919, into a family that already had an illustrious literary legacy. His grandfather was the translator of Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali into Marathi. Before Pu La Deshpande began a career in music, he earned a master’s degree and served as a college lecturer. His writing premier was through Bombay magazine and soon he went on to write many novels, essays, comedy books, travelogues, children’s plays, and one-man stage shows, most of which attained mass popularity in Maharashtra.
The illustrator of the doodle, Sameer Kulavoor talks about the influence of Pu La Deshpande on the literary culture of Maharashtra saying, “Being born and brought up in Mumbai/Maharashtra, one comes across Pu La Deshpande’s name and works constantly in popular culture – music, writing, films, theatre, literature, and more.”
He also mentioned that in the doodle, he alludes to a Deshpande song that he remembers from his schooling days and wanted to pay tribute to Deshpande’s colourful personality. “PuLa’s life and work is the message! I hope to highlight the fact that one can have several different outlets and forms to creativity.”