The Filmfare Awards are presented annually by The Times Group to honour both artistic and technical excellence of professionals in the Hindi language film industry of India. The Filmfare ceremony is one of the oldest film events in India. The awards were first introduced in 1954, the same year as the National Film Awards. They were initially referred to as the Clare Awards or The Clares after Clare Mendonca, the editor of The Times of India. A dual voting system was developed in 1956. Under this system, "in contrast to the National Film Awards, which are decided by a panel appointed by Indian Government, the Filmfare Awards are voted by both the public and a committee of experts." The Filmfare Awards have been often referred to as the Hindi film industry's equivalent to The Oscars.
The Clares was the original name of the award ceremony, named after The Times of India critic Clare Mendonca. Readers of Filmfare were polled to decide the winners, and over 20,000 readers spread throughout India participated in the polls; trophies were given to winners of the popular vote. In the first awards function, held on 21 March 1954 at the Metro Theatre of Mumbai, only five awards were presented: Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Music Director. Do Bigha Zameen was the first movie to win the award for Best Film. The first winners for other four categories were: Bimal Roy for his direction of Do Bigha Zameen, Dilip Kumar for his performance in Daag, Meena Kumari for her performance in Baiju Bawra, and Naushad Ali for his music in Baiju Bawra.