At the age of 33, Kiran Dembla, a native of Hyderabad, was leading quite a nonchalant life. She was mother to two kids and her husband was working with a multinational company in the city. She thought she was leading the perfect life until one day she was diagnosed with a blood clot in her brain.
“I was shocked and so was my husband. That’s when I looked at the mirror and realised how much I had changed in the past decade. I weighed 75 kg then and looked like nothing from the time I was in college. I started feeling even more nauseated by the medicines the doctors prescribed. A postgraduate in music, I wondered what I was doing with my life,” Kiran tells TNM.
Today, the 45-year-old is a bodybuilding champion. Kiran is also a fitness trainer. She is among the very few (if not only) women from Hyderabad who sports a six-pack body and has represented the country in the World Bodybuilding Championship in Budapest. The list doesn’t end there. She is a Disco Jockey (DJ) and mountaineer who has so far trekked to the Mount Everest base camp thrice.
Listening to Kiran list out her professions is enough to leave one gasping for breath! And this has been her routine for the past decade.
“Initially, I had no plans to build my body or even a six-pack. Soon after I recovered from my illness, in 2007, I started attending yoga sessions along with a few of my friends. And this piqued my interest to join the gym. I started going to a gym in my neighbourhood and in 6-7 months, I managed to lose 24 kilos. I still remember how wonderful it was to feel light and young. I then did a course to become a gym trainer and opened my own gym in Begumpet in 2008,” Kiran recalls.
Not only did Kiran’s drastic physical transformation help her physically, it also helped her to train Uppsana Kammineni, actor Ram Charan’s wife, right before the duo was all set to get married.
“After Upasana, I trained Tamannaah and Anushka Shetty for Mirchi and Baahubali. By then, I had started getting recognised as a celebrity fitness trainer. Rajamouli, Prakash Raj and a few others also have been my clients. While many of them opt for regular fitness training, some look for instant transformations to suit their roles in films. Either way, there is a lot of determination and discipline that goes into bodybuilding,” Kiran shares.
After a couple of years, in 2012, Kiran decided to have a six-pack because in her words, “building a fit body wasn’t just enough”. She started following a strict regime, and within eight months sported a six-pack.
“There were people who commented on my biceps and said it was not at all lady-like. Others said I had turned manly while some even commented on the kind of dress I used for the sport. But none of these came in my way and in 2013, I became the only woman to get a direct entry into the World Bodybuilding Championship which was held in Budapest in Hungary,” Kiran says.
However, 15 days before the event at Budapest, there were three deaths in the family due to an accident and this, she says, took a toll on her.
“We are not supposed to drink too much of water a week before the competition. But the atmosphere at my house was such that every day, I used to sit outside my house to eat food, which included meat, as my extended family didn’t approve of eating non-veg right after the funeral. However, my husband stood by my side and I somehow managed to make it to the championship on time. I stood sixth and also won the title for the most beautiful body,” Kiran narrates.
Kiran hasn’t attended a single bodybuilding championship in India and this, she says, is because no one in India looks at bodybuilding as a sport, especially when it’s a woman.
“Bodybuilding championships require women to wear a bikini and since I judge competitions here, I know exactly where people’s eyes wander when they see a woman in a bikini. Wherever I have been outside India, people enjoy it as a sport and bikini is not the issue,” Kiran says.
However, along with her fitness training, Kiran today is also a DJ known by the name DJ Belle. “As I had done my postgraduation in music, I thought it was time I took my passion seriously. I attended a six-month course and did my first show here in Hyderabad. DJing is now keeping me quite busy,” Kiran adds.
But ‘busy’ doesn’t mean Kiran is no longer a fitness enthusiast. After undergoing a different fitness regime for seven months, Kiran, on her 45th birthday in 2019, gifted herself a ripped six-pack abs along with a photo shoot.
“Meanwhile, I also did some mountaineering and have now enrolled myself in a photography course. And I must tell you, photography is damn difficult,” Kiran laughs.