ID, a film by Kamal K M has won the 16th Gollapudi Srinivas National Award for the Best Debut film of 2013.
A bilingual (English/Hindi) film, ID is a thriller about a group of friends who go in search of the identity of a nameless labourer in Mumbai. The film addresses the issues of displacement, the world's obsession with documents that show "proof of identification" and its implication for migrant labour.
The jury comprising veteran directors Singeetham Srinivasa Rao, Balu Mahendra, actress Khushboo and editor A Sreekar Prasad chose ID among 20 nominations from films across the country.
At a press conference in Chennai, Rao suggested that the organisers hold a film festival of all the 20 nominated films because each was special. ID drew praise for its originality, technique and theme. "It's a film that was so good it made me ashamed of my own work," joked Balu Mahendra.
Kamal KM, a former journalist with a political weekly, has earlier worked as co-screenwriter and assistant director with Santosh Sivan for Anandabhadram (2005), Before the Rains (2007) and Prarambha (2008).
ID, produced on a shoe-string budget by Collective Phase One Ltd, received top honours at the Abu Dhabi International Film festival, Torino International Film Festival and Mumbai International Film Festival.
The Gollapudi Srinivas National Award is presented in the memory of director Gollapudi Srinivas, who died at the age of 25 when a tidal wave hit him while he was shooting his first film Prema Pustakam.
The award, which seeks to promote young filmmakers, carries a cash prize of Rs 150,000 and would be presented to Kamal on August 12, the day when Srinivas died in an accident, a foundation release said.
Previous recipients of the award include Aamir Khan for Taare Zameen Par, Madhav Ramadasan for Melvilasam, Sonali Bose for Amu and Shyama Prasad for Agnisakshi.