#LookoutFor | BohraSisters

This duo works anonymously. Well, almost. 

The BohraSisters explain that even though the nom de guerre "isn’t a hundred percent anonymous, suggests a gender (intentionally so), and perhaps even an ethnicity," they'd taken a call to keep their names secret. "Names, typically, create an instant marker for everything that divides us... race, gender, or even our own individual personalities," say the BohraSisters. "We want our identity to be marked by our work alone." 

Music: Tumhe Jusn De ke Khuda Ne Sitamgar Banaya; sung by Asha Bhosle, Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammed Rafi, and Manna Dey.
From OST:
Jab Se Tumhe Dekha Hai; starring Shammi Kapoor, Shashi Kapoor, and Geeta Bali.
Music and lyrics: Dattaram Wadkar + Anand Bakshi.

In this edition, we ask you to #LookoutFor, their short, ambient stop-motion videos and GIFs that drench you with a shower of nostalgia, or leave you yearning for a sense of home that you never experienced, but suddenly feel an affinity with.

Their anonymity, which is a large part of who they are, also lets them "stretch" their creativity without the fear of being judged. "Since we’re a new start-up, it gives us room to try unconventional things, and learn from our mistakes," they write over email to TLJ. While the sisters have been working together formally for the past two years, the two are now based out of two different continents– one is somewhere in North America, while the other works out of the Middle East. 

The BohraSisters are both in their late twenties and neither has had any formal education in art or animation. They are engineers by training (one, a bio-tech engineer and the other, electronics), but found that one of them has a flair and passion for drawing and painting, while the other is a self-taught animator and designer.

Edited bits from a conversation on their work.

TLJ: The stop motion you do is a wonderful blend of art, "craft", and photo+digital practice. Is this your mainstay? Do you ever entertain thoughts of moving to digital only and depart from your trademark style? Do you do that as an alter-ego/separate individual and independent practice otherwise?
BS: We do whatever comes naturally to us. And we follow our instincts and heart. We do this because we love doing it. And we hope that in the future too, we can continue doing what we love to do. Maybe we learn new things and come across new inspirations and new ways of communicating our passion to the world, so you never know how things can turn out.

 

Music: Chhoti Si Asha; sung by Minmini.
From OST: 
Roja (1992); starring Arvind Swamy and Madhoo.
Music and lyrics: A. R. Rahman + P.K. Mishra.

TLJ:We see that most of your videos have music to go with them. It adds to the stop-motions so beautifully. 
BS: It does, doesn’t it! :) Indian music has a character like none other! It fits into, and adds beauty to anything and everything, in the most graceful way.

TLJ: Who are your favourite musicians?
BS: There are so many – old and new...We absolutely love RD Burman and AR Rahman. Listening to the likes of L. Subramaniam, Pundit Ravi Shankar, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan can make our day, any day!

 

TLJ: Do you listen to someone while working on your videos? If yes, who? 
BS: Depending on the mood that day, this can range from Mohammed Rafi to Lata Mangeshkar, to Mukesh to Hemant Kumar.

Music: Dekho Kasam Se, sung by Mohammed Rafi and Asha Bhonsle.
From OST: 
Tumsa Nahin Dekha (1957); starring Shammi Kapoor and Ameeta.
Music and lyrics: OP Nayyar + Majrooh Sultanpuri

TLJ: About your specific inclination to old Hindi film songs in your work— tell us what your favourites are and which film's OST you would pick for any day, any mood. 
BS: Old Hindi film songs are magic. They’re the sounds that can change your mood and your personality. We grew up listening to them— every morning (our) mom used to play them while doing her daily house chores. 
It's very difficult to name just a few. But if we had to choose, our favourite male singers from old Hindi films would be, undoubtedly, Mohammed Rafi, Hemant Kumar, Mukesh and Kishore Kumar. Favourite female singers would have to be the nightingale sister-duo Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle.

 

TLJ: Stop motion is, in our heads, a laborious process. How long does one bit-video take to make? 
BS: Yes, it can indeed be very time consuming. From conceptualising, to creating free hand drawings to developing the animation, it can take around a month to produce a full, minute-long video.
The Jalebi Wala video, for instance, took us about two weeks to develop and produce. We also love how the video made for @igersRajasthan turned out. That one took us around a month and a half to finalise, and it was a total treat to work on.


TLJ:What inspires you on a daily basis?
BS: Our Nani is our biggest inspiration. We have spent our childhood with her. She was so loving, and still is! We always think about her and while creating our videos, do so keeping her in mind. We are always thinking about her especially while creating our videos.
Apart from that, little routine things that happen around us all the time inspire us. Like the cat outside our house licking her babies, two pigeons on our porch fighting for a piece of bread, teeny sparrows invading our bird feeder, the morning breeze, the flowers blooming in our front yard...

 

TLJ: A stop-motion artist you love/get inspired by?
BS: We really like Raychel Ryle. 

Whole Latte Love, by Raychel Ryle

Coffee for one rupee, by BohraSisters.

Song: Ek Pyaar Ka Naghma Hai; sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh
From OST: Shor (1972); starring Jaya Bhaduri, Kamini Kaushal, and Manoj Kumar.
Music and lyrics:  Laxmikant Pyarelal + Santosh Anand.

 

 

TLJ: Other artists that inspire you? 
BS: We love Alicia Souza and Tasneem Amiruddin.
 

TLJ: Since this is the zine's bucket list issue, tell us of the one thing that tops yours.
One of the things on our bucket list is to visit our granny and spend a night sleeping on the terrace, gazing at the stars and listening to her beautiful old stories— just like what we used to do as kids. :)

 

 

NOTES IN THE MARGINS:

Incidentally, Tasneem collaborated with TLJ in a previous issue. See that piece here.

Song: Thandi Hawayen; sung by Lata Mangeshkar.
From OST: Naujawan (1951); starring Prem Nath and Nalini Jaywant.
Music and lyrics: S.D. Burman + Sahir Ludhianvi