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Monday, Nov 18, 2019

How Pu La impacted my life: ‘disciples’ share the punch lines

Five stalwarts from fields of literature, music, theatre and cinema have been honoured during the four day Pulostav festival that began on November 8 at Bal Gandharva Rang Mandir, Tilak road

pune Updated: Nov 10, 2019 16:27 IST
Prachi Bari
Prachi Bari
Hindustan Times, Pune
Actor Ashok Saraf received the Pulostav life time achievement award
Actor Ashok Saraf received the Pulostav life time achievement award(HT PHOTO)
         

Purushottam Laxman Deshpande and his writings has over years touched many artistes. Five stalwarts from fields of literature, music, theatre and cinema have been honoured during the four day Pulostav festival that began on November 8 at Bal Gandharva Rang Mandir, Tilak road.

Chinmay Mandlekar received the Tarunai award
Chinmay Mandlekar received the Tarunai award ( HT PHOTO )

Actor Ashok Saraf received the Pulostav life time achievement award, and Sharad Ponkshe received a special award during the inaugural function on the birth anniversary of Pu La Deshpande (Pu La) on November 8, while actor Chinmay Mandlekar received the Tarunai award on November 9. Renu Dandekar will be awarded the Pulostav Krutadnata Sanman on November 10 and flautist Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia will be awarded the Pu La Smruti Sanman on the final day of the event on November 11.

Renu Dandekar will be awarded the Pulostav Krutadnata Sanman
Renu Dandekar will be awarded the Pulostav Krutadnata Sanman ( HT PHOTO )

Each of these artistes have been influenced by the writings of Pu La, they tell us how.

Actor Ashok Saraf was introduced to Pu La when he was very young. “Actually Pu La was my father’s friend and their friendship was very typical , as friends should be, fame did not come in between. I remember that Pu La had come for one of my premieres and I was patiently waiting to hear his verdict of my acting, but when he came out of the theatre during interval, all he asked me was about my father and his well being, such was their friendship.”

Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia will be awarded the Pu La Smruti Sanman
Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia will be awarded the Pu La Smruti Sanman ( HT PHOTO )

Saraf is also a voracious reader and has every book written by Pu La. “I have all of Pu La’s books and have reread each and every one of his works, multiple times. Every time I read a book, I find something new. I am his Eklavya for he has taught me so much, about man’s nature, his character and how everything is tied together,”says Saraf.

Sharad Ponkshe
Sharad Ponkshe ( HT PHOTO )

Sharad Ponkshe, actor feels that although he never got to meet Pu La, his books have taught him a lot in life and about life. “His writings have taught me how to enjoy small things in life. Reading his works, makes us think how we missed on noticing things which we might simply brush off and yet Pu La would find the very thing to be something unique and humorous. His perspective of looking at common things are brought out with such beauty in his writings. I have always enjoyed batatyachi chaal, Vyaki ani Valli , interestingly I saw the plays first and then was introduced to his books. Initially I did not know of how big a name Pu La was and I feel blessed to be part of Pu La family after receiving this award.”

Actor, director, producer Chinmay Mandlekar recalls reading Pu La’s book from his father’s collection for the first time. “I was so engrossed, I couldn’t put the book down. My father had the entire collection, his books are for all ages. I feel that whatever I write, the base is always Pu La, for he has influenced the way I think, the way I approach new projects. Creating simple characters and giving them dimensions, that is Pu La. He is not just about humour but has written on many subjects which make you think and contemplate. My only regret in life is that I never got to meet him in person, his writings however, have kept him alive.

Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia recalls his first meeting with Pu La. “I was a newcomer to Mumbai and just joined All India Radio. Pu La Deshpande was already a known name but when we met at Chabildas school in Dadar for a programme, he was just like anyone else. I also remember that at another programme in Pune, the compere was late or caught up elsewhere and had not reached, so the organisers asked Pu La who was among the audience to come up and say a few words. I was amazed with his impromptu introduction, where using words so beautifully, he introduced me. I have always remembered that episode so well, and am fascinated with his way with words and command over language.”