Beautiful Boxer took second prize, the Silver Peacock, at the International Film Festival of India in Goa, while the top prize, the Golden Peacock went to Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi's The Beautiful City.
More than 60 films were in competition at the festival.
Among the other films was Law Teong Hin's Malaysian epic, The Princess of Mount Ledang about a Hindu-Muslim romance in the Hindu Majapahit Empire centred around a royal princess in Melaka. Said Law Teong Hin about his film: "Our hope is that films like mine would get picked up for distribution in India."
He said The Princess is "by far the biggest made in Malaysia".
"There's not much awareness of Malaysian films anywhere in the world. They've hardly travelled," the filmmaker admitted.
But things are changing with a whole new wave of younger producers. The number of films made in Malaysia has grown from 12 a year to about 30.
"Censorship is really tight. Even exposed armpits can be a problem. Our film got cleared with no cuts though," Law said.
Ekachai Uekrongtham's Beautiful Boxer also made a big splash.
"It's pretty overwhelming to be here. I was unsure how my film would be accepted because India has its own strong culture. But people were coming out and hugging me. One lady was in tears," Ekachai was quoted as saying by New Kerala.
The film is a real life story about a kick-boxer who believes he's a girl trapped in a boy's body and sets out to master the most masculine and lethal sport to achieve his ultimate goal of total femininity.
Beautiful Boxer will be hitting INOX multiplexes in the subcontintent, after it was picked up in a sidebar film market.
Multiplex operator Arun Sharma struck the deal. "[Beautiful Boxer] has already been sold in more than 30 countries and I liked it so much that I approached the distributors and decided to take it up for screening at my multiplex," Sharma said.
(Cross-published at Rotten Tomatoes)