I came across a delightful page on Instagram having intricately detailed illustrations with soulful songs in the background. These took me to my childhood days in the early 80’s, those of the animations on Doordarshan. The animated episodes of “Ek Chidiya Anek Chidiya”and the serial “Malgudi Days” unwittingly came back to memory. I explored the page @BohraSisters and was now sure that the creator of the page is undoubtedly from my hometown, Udaipur.
Udaipur Times got in touch with the team behind @BohraSisters and coordinated an exclusive email-based interview. We are pleased to share this intriguing and interesting journey of the BohraSisters, viz. siblings Sakina and Zainab Sabunwala.
Born in Udaipur, Sakina and Zainab have been brought up in Kuwait. The Gulf War caused them to return to Udaipur, where they studied in St Mary’s Convent School for 7 years, post which they moved back to Kuwait. Both of them did their Engineering from Bangalore but neither pursued a related profession. Zainab started working in a marketing firm, where she was introduced to Stop-Motion Animation and immediately took fancy to it. Sakina, the elder one, on the other hand, loves drawing. Both the sisters although living in two different time zones - Zainab in Kuwait and Sakina in San Francisco, decided to collaborate with each other. They put their hobbies together and designed fun videos to recreate the magic of the childhood they spent in Udaipur with their grandparents. Together, they started the Instagram handle of @BohraSisters. As people started noticing and appreciating their work, offers and requests for paid projects began coming their way. Now, after six years since its inception, @BohraSisters, which was originally a hobby, has turned into a full time job for Zainab and Sakina.
All their videos are, in some way or the other, inspired by their favorite childhood memories and real-life experiences.
Their videos invoke yearning for the golden era with background Hindi songs of yesteryears like “Mera Jutta Hai Japani”, “Thandi Hawaein Lehra Ke Aayein”, and “Yaad Kiya Dil Ne Kahan Ho Tum”, as well as the intricate illustrations, depicting all those little charms of Udaipur, right from our fictional yet beloved characters Kaliya Pan Wala and Niraali Bai Sabzi Wali, to the memories of feeding the pigeons on Nani Ji’s terrace, enjoying a Gulab Jamun treat with Dada Ji, and the cycle ride with Nana Ji.
They have also created videos on their favorite Hindi-language film actors, songs and dialogues.
Their video on importance of girl child education, “Choti si Aasha”, was loved and appreciated the most. Another video on the COVID-19 pandemic, “Stay Strong India”, has garnered praise from Instagrammers all across India. Celebrities like Neetu Singh and Lara Dutta showered the post with lovely compliments.
When asked about their commissioned projects they said they have also made two promotional videos for Shah Rukh Khan’s IPL Team Kolkatta Knight Riders with the tagline, #haitaiyaar.
They are also currently making a video for Igers Rajasthan which highlights the various cultural aspects of Rajasthan. Zainab mentioned that this project is very dear to them.
When asked to describe the artistic style of their videos, they said that they started the Instagram page as a hobby, to work on something that came naturally to them. Zainab says, “That’s why we circled around hand-drawn animation videos, with Indian movie songs playing in the background and reminiscing local heartfelt interactions. It was not intentionally planned, but as we gained popularity, we realized that our illustration technique was unique and made us stand out.”
Stop motion videos take a lot of time to complete, both from a creative as well as technical point of view. It can take around 2-3 weeks to develop a 20-30 second video clip. “Keep in mind though that our team is very limited and on top of that we have another full-time job – being a mother.” admitted Zainab.
The primary intention behind the Instagram page @bohrasisters is to spread smiles.“There is too much negativity in today’s world, and all we want to do is spread love through our posts. We are also focused on bringing awareness to certain issues like girl child education and animal welfare, among others. As we grow and become more popular, I feel it’s the least of our responsibilities to shed light on many such issues,” articulated Zainab.
Udaipur Times wishes sisters Sakina and Zainab Sabunwala the very best in all their endeavors. We encourage them to keep spreading happiness through their heart-warming videos; the world needs warriors like them.
We will be back next week with another intriguing story of achievers from Udaipur.