From being an overweight star-kid to becoming one of the most sought after fitness-and-combat-sports entrepreneurs in the country, Jackie Shroff’s daughter Krishna Shroff has carved a niche for herself in India’s fast growing mixed martial arts (MMA) circuit.
The 30-year-old is the co-owner of MMA Matrix Gym and India’s biggest MMA platform Matrix Fight Night, the 11th edition of which started streaming on Disney+ Hotstar from March 31. In a freewheeling chat, she talks about her fitness journey, MMA Fight Night 11 and her brother Tiger Shroff’s influence on her.
What made you so passionate about fitness and the MMA sport?
Krishna Shroff: I think fitness is truly at the core of who I am. Although I was an overweight kid while growing up, I was an extremely active kid in sports throughout my years in school. I was always inclined towards activities, playing football, badminton, or just running around. I just loved to be constantly out and moving. Which remains true to date.
But I truly found my passion for fitness about seven years ago when I first stepped into a gym. I got a gym membership at the Taj Lands End gym because it used to be empty. I used to be so timid and conscious about how I looked at that time. But as I saw myself progressing every single week and how my body was changing, I automatically had a change in my mental state. It gave me a sense of security and confidence that I didn’t have while growing up overweight.
I was overweight in a well-known family. So, every time I went out with my dad, the media would click photos of me and then I would read negative comments about my appearance online. It can mess with a teenager’s head. Although it hurt at that time, I used it in my stride to channel my energy and be where I wanted to be and achieve my goals.
As for MMA, I have been following this sport for over ten years now. I have always been intrigued and inspired by athletes. I have respect for athletes across sports but the mental toughness that these guys and girls have to do what they do is commendable. It’s a blessing to be so close to these athletes. It definitely inspires me every day.
How much has Tiger influenced your fitness journey?
Krishna Shroff: I am blessed with motivation in my house every single day. You are as good as the company you keep. I was extremely inspired and motivated by him. He pushed me every day and he has been so supportive of everything I have done. It’s absolutely a blessing to have Tiger as my brother.
But when someone’s starting off, no matter how much someone else pushes you to go to the gym or eat healthily, it’s never going to happen if that shift doesn’t happen in your head. I was trying to join a gym and eat healthily. It was also great to see all the cool things that Tiger was doing but that was just outside noise. It didn’t really trigger anything within me. Once I had that mental shift in my head, I really started to notice the motivation around me and do something about it.
How excited are you about Matrix Fight Night and what can we expect from its eleventh edition?
Krishna Shroff: I am really excited about Matrix Fight Night 11. You can watch it live on Disney+ Hotstar on March 31. The show starts at 6 pm. We have two of the most exciting fights on the cards. One of our Indian guys is fighting against a guy from Ireland who is a very exciting fighter and a great ambassador for the sport.
In the main event, we have our first fight for the welterweight title. Welterweight basically means 77 kgs. It will have one of our Indian guys against a fighter from Kyrgyzstan who is an absolute finisher and has nine wins and only one loss on his record.
What were the challenges you faced while turning your passion into a business and what’s the most gratifying thing about it?
Krishna Shroff: When I started off, I was still confused. I was born with a silver spoon. I was born into a film family and everyone expected me to become an actor. But I always had a clear head about what I wanted to do. With support from my family, I was able to pursue my passion all the more.
Initially, there was confusion and doubt. People didn’t believe in my vision the way I did. Eventually, our beliefs aligned and people started seeing my vision. I think when your intent is in a pure place, there’s definitely longevity in that. The most gratifying thing is that people recognise me for who I am and not just Jackie Shroff’s daughter and Tiger Shroff’s sister.
Has there been a paradigm shift in you ever since you started fitness training?
Krishna Shroff: Absolutely. With the physical changes comes a mental change as well. You’re never gonna feel as good as you look. And you’re never gonna look as good as you feel. I promote overall well-being — not only physical but also emotional and mental. It is interconnected. If you change one aspect of your life, your whole life is going to change.
Both Tiger and you are fitness freaks. Do you ever train together? And how different are you as individuals other than your common passion for fitness?
Krishna Shroff: We both train at MMA Matrix, which is our gym. We don’t necessarily plan to workout together but we often bump into each other. I have an automatic cheat code. Any question I have about fitness and nutrition, Tiger is the first person I message.
As people, we are very different. Both of us are on opposite sides of the spectrum. He is introverted, timid, and shy, especially in social settings. He absolutely transforms when he is doing his job on a movie set, which is cool to see.
I, on the other hand, am a bit louder and a lot more social. I like to go out and meet new people from around the world. He loves to be at home. When he is not shooting, he loves to be in the comfort of his home but still training throughout the day. I like to travel and experience new places and cultures.
Whom do you like to train with?
Krishna Shroff: My mom and I have a blast training together. We are extremely competitive. It’s cool to see my mom being able to keep up with me. She is one of the strongest women I know and I strive to be like her.
What’s more difficult to be disciplined about — exercise or diet?
Krishna Shroff: I know the majority of people will say diet. But for me, ever since I started training, I enjoy healthy food. I don’t look forward to ‘cheat meals’ anymore. Even that one day makes me feel sick. I love eating to fuel my body and to make my body look good.
Doing the training for at least 5-6 days a week is more of a struggle for me than nutrition.
What’s a life hack given to you by Jackie Shroff?
Krishna Shroff: There are so many, every single day. If he is not telling us in person, he’s messaging us in our family group on WhatsApp. But what I take away from him is ‘Silence is golden’, ‘speak less and listen more’, and ‘the more you observe, the more you learn’.
Do you have any plans of acting? Will we see you in an MMA movie?
Krishna Shroff: I am pretty clear about not doing a full-blown film. There are many more attributes to a film than just action. You can’t just be good at one aspect to be successful. I am well aware of that and my strengths and weaknesses. But if a very cool concept comes up for an action-oriented commercial between a brother and a sister, I think it would be cool to see me with Tiger in that ad.