A young woman’s attempt to do the right thing after a painter collapses in her home exposes her to the seedy underbelly of Mumbai.
The central concept of Kamal KM’s I.D. is a question of responsibility: when a worker collapses and dies whilst painting a wall in a young woman’s flat, who’s job is it to clean up afterwards? This idea is used effectively as a way of exploring the massive class divide of a city like Mumbai as Charu, the young woman in question is forced to submerge herself in a world far removed from her own despite being situated on her doorstep.
The oppressive, overcrowded atmosphere that the film maintains throughout is perhaps its biggest strength, with the sound design in particular doing a great job of establishing a real sense of Mumbai as an overbearing place without resorting to simply being overbearing in its use of sound. Unfortunately, the film struggles to make good use of the atmosphere that it creates, as the frustrating repetition of Charu’s search translates to an equally frustrating and repetitious experience for the viewer. Having said that, the statement on the distance and proximity of the rich and the poor in India that the film seeks to make is very well executed, especially in the thematic climax to the film where Charu stands in a slum discussing her marketing dissertation on the phone to a prospective employer. It is a shame that the power of this scene is somewhat diminished by another fifteen minutes of the film that offered very little that hadn’t already been expressed.
There is plenty to like in I.D., and when it is firing on all cylinders it really shines, which perhaps only makes it the more unfortunate that for a good chunk of its runtime it only manages to be engaging because of its strong atmosphere.
-Brad saw I.D. as part of Edinburgh International Film Festival 2013