NFAI to celebrate birth centenary of P.L. Deshpande

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Pune (Maharashtra), Nov 15 (IANS) The National Film Archive of India (NFAI) will organise a special film festival and poster exhibition to mark the birth centenary of the legendary multi-faceted Maharashtrian artiste, the late Purushottam Laxman Deshpande, an official said on Thursday.

Actor Ashok Saraf will inaugurate the festival and expo at the NFAI headquarters here on November 18 in the presence of NFAI Director Prakash Magdum and filmmaker Kiran Shantaram.

Born on November 8, 1919 in a small chawl in south Mumbai, Deshpande went on to become a legendary film and theatre actor, besides stints as a school teacher and college lecturer, a television journalist who became the first person to interview the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru for the newly-launched Doordarshan, plus a writer, poet, musician, music composer, singer, orator and humorist.

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Popularly known as ‘Pu.La’ in literary and film circles, he passed away in June 2000 aged 80, leaving behind a rich legacy of his literary works for which he is remembered fondly even today. He was married to renowned writer, Sunita Thakur.

The expo will showcase 26 posters of the Marathi and Bollywood films in which Deshpande acted including ‘Kuber’ (1947), ‘Vande Mataram’ (1948), ‘Johar Maibaap’ (1950), ‘Maisaheb’ (1953) and his last work ‘Ek Hota Vidushak’ (1992), highlighting his contribution to Indian cinema in different capacities.

“This will be a tribute to the genius artiste who ventured into almost every field of performing arts and the exhibition will be taken to different parts of Maharashtra next year,” said Magdum.

On display will be the original hand-written copy of the script of Deshpande’s cult classic film ‘Gulacha Ganpati’ (1953), of which he was also the director, actor, music director, writer, lyricist, screenplay and dialogue writer, he said.

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The script was donated to NFAI in 2015 by the family member of Rajguru, the film’s producers.

The three-day film festival from November 18-20 will showcase a dozen films of Deshpande, including the memorable ‘Gulacha Ganpati’ and ‘Pudhacha Paul’, besides ‘Ammaldar’ (adapted from ‘The Inspector General’) and ‘Teen Paisacha Tamasha’ (adapted from ‘Three Penny Opera’).

Magdum appealed to the fans and followers of Deshpande to help the NFAI trace his lost or misplaced films and other material which can be preserved for posterity as a fitting tribute during his birth centennial.

–IANS

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