Purushottam Laxman Deshpande (November 8, 1919 - June 12, 2000) was a noted Indian writer in Marathi.
He was also famous as an orator and performing artist. He wrote as Pu La (SAMPA: pU-5}) Deshpande, from his initials in Marathi.
Born in Mumbai, he was educated at Pune's Fergusson College and Willingdon College, Sangli. He was a lecturer and teacher before making his move into literature in the 1940s. He also contributed to radio, TV, theatre and films. Pu La also played the harmonium and composed music for films.
As a writer, Pu La's work spans a variety of genres, from short stories, essays to profiles and novels. Among his translations are Hemingway's
Old man and the Sea, Sophocles' Oedipus. His original works include some of the classics in Marathi literature, such as Batatyachi Chaal (a hilarious look on life in Mumbai's chawls. He also used
to perform it as a one-man show), Asa mi Asami (the fictional autobiography of a middle-class man), Vyakti and Valli (a collection of fictional but quintessional Marathi profiles), Tujhe aahe tujapaashi (a drama)and Varyavarchi Varat.
He also had a deep interest in the longliving tradition of Hindustani classical music and musical theatre in Maharashtra. He vividly described it in his writings, popularised it and ultimately became himself a part of it.
One of Marathi's beloved literature's beloved characters, Pu La has a cultural centre named after him, the P.L. Deshpande Kala Academy at the Ravindra Natya Mandir in Mumbai/Bombay.
His multi-dimensional personality has made an indelible impact on the psyche of Maharashtrians.