Hindi and Punjabi director and producer Roop Kishore Shorey, better known as Roop K Shorey, is known for films such as Chaman (1948), Ek Thi Larki (1949), Dholak (1951), Ek Do Teen (1953), Akalmand (1966), and Ek Thi Reeta (1971). He also produced some of his directorials such as Dholak and Ek Thi Larki, also facing the camera as an actor in Buzdil (1951). Starting off in Lahore making short films, he graduated to making low-cost versions of mythologicals, love stories and Tarzan films.
Born on January 28, 1914 in Quetta, Baluchistan, British India (now in Pakistan), he was the son of director R L Shorey (Roshan Lal Shorey). He was a cinematographer, lab assistant, editor and producer in Kamala Movietone. Producing and directing more than 50 shorts in Lahore, he turned feature director with the coming of sound. He pioneered economical versions of Bombay films, for instance mythologicals, Laila-Majnu love stories and Tarzan movies. While he was preceded in this by B R Oberai and Kardar, Shorey was the first to demonstrate the financial viability of this formula, especially in collaboration with distributor Dalsukh M Pancholi (1938). He went on to work with Information Films of India in World War II.
Migrating to Bombay following Partition, he established Shorey Films in Bombay in 1948. His directorial Chaman (1948) starred Karan Dewan, Majnu and Om Prakash. A social, it was the first Punjabi film in independent India. It included popular songs composed by Vinod – Galiyan wich phirde, Raahe raahe jaandeya, and Asaan bekadran naal rendered by Lata Mangeshkar.
His action comedy Ek Thi Larki (1949) included the famous Punjabi song Laara lappa laara lappa layi rakhda by Lata Mangeshkar, G M Durrani and Mohammed Rafi, scored by Vinod with lyrics by Aziz Kashmiri. With story by I S Johar, the film starred Meena Shorey (as Meena) who became famously known as the ‘Larra Lappa girl’ following the release of the film, and Motilal (as Ranjeet). Other co-stars were Bharat Bhushan, I S Johar, Agha, Shakuntala, and Kuldip Kaur. The film revolved around Meena, who is running away from two men, who are blackmailing her for a crime she did not commit. Along the way she meets Ranjeet, who is engaged to be married to the daughter of his boss but falls in love with Meena.
Dholak, a romantic comedy, revolved around a bachelor who gets a job as a music teacher in a college but the condition is that he must be married. He directed Ajit, Meena Shorey and Shyamlal in the film.
His comedy Ek Do Teen (1953) starred Motilal, Meena Shorey, Yashodhara Katju, Majnu and Iftekhar. With story, screenplay and dialogues written by Krishan Chander, the plot had some similarity to Somerset Maugham’s Facts Of Life. The music was composed by Vinod and the lyricist was Aziz Kashmiri.
Akalmand (1966), also a comedy, saw him directing a cast comprising Sev Anand, I S Johar, Kishore Kumar, and Sonia Sahni. The story revolved around two characters whose aim is one but their paths are different. They keep clashing with each other, and their exciting and hilarious tactics keep everyone around them much amused.
An action comedy thriller, his 1971 film Ek Thi Reeta was an adaptation of his earlier success - Ek Thi Larki, which starred his wife actress Meena Shorey and Motilal. The story revolved around a young girl called Reeta, who believes herself to be an orphan. Implicated on a false murder charge, she escapes, only to get involved in several comedic situations along with the film’s hero. The original largely owed its popularity to the music of the film. While Shorey tried to repeat the success of the film by using the same story, the “formula”—according to Sanjit Narwekar, in his book, Eena Meena Deeka: The History of Hindi Film Comedy—did not work and the film was not a success commercially. The film had music by Jaidev and starred Vinod Mehra, Tanuja and I S Johar in lead roles with Lolita Chatterjee, Rehman, Faryal and Manmohan Krishna forming the ensemble cast.
On the personal front, he was married to Meena Shorey, an actress who had starred in many of his films.
Roop K Shorey passed away on 3 June, 1973 in Bombay.