Search engine giant Google has painted the homepage colourful in the honour of legendary writer and musician Purushottam Laxman Deshpande on his 101st birth anniversary.
The doodle, illustrated by Mumbai-based guest artist Sameer Kulavoor, shows Deshpande sitting with a harmonium in hues of colours. The harmonium (also known as the reed organ) has the initials ‘Pu La’, widely known Marathi initials of the music composer.
Kulavoor, being born and brought up in Mumbai, recalled Deshpande’s wildly popular composition Marathi song, called ‘Naach re mora’ (dance peacock, dance), he heard as a child in school. He mentioned that the doodle was a subtle reference to the song and Deshpande’s colourful persona.
The popular writer was renowned for his signature style of joyful humour and satire. On the Google Doodle website, the tech giant thanked Deshpande for bringing smiles to the faces of countless readers and audiences with his multifaceted contributions to Marathi literature and the performing arts.
Born in 1919 in Bombay (now Mumbai), Deshpande earned a master’s degree and served as a college lecturer before pursuing a career in music. Known as the master of harmonium, the playwright played as an accompanist for acclaimed vocal artists of the day. Later on, he went on to release his own hit recordings.
Music wasn’t Deshpande’s only creative talent. In the late 1940s, his writing debuted in a Bombay magazine. Throughout his long and varied career, he produced a prolific collection of writing which included novels, essays, comedy books, travelogues, children’s plays, and one-man stage shows—much of which saw massive popularity, particularly in his home state of Maharashtra.
In the 1990s, Deshpande and his wife established a philanthropic foundation in his name which in the years since has carried on his positive legacy through the promotion of a variety of social and cultural causes.
In addition, Deshpande also acted in dozens of films, many of which were directed by him.