THE FIRST AWARDS
There were only five of them. Do Bigha Zameen won Best Film. Bimal Roy carried off the statuette for Best Director for the same film.
Dilip Kumar won the first of many awards for his performance in Daag, while Meena Kumari won hers for Baiju Bawra. Best Music Director went to Naushad for Baiju Bawra.
At first, the awards were called Clares after Clare Mendonca, the Times of India film critic who died the year of the first awards, 1954. However, the name didn't stick.
CLARE WEIGHS UP
But a little about Clare, the statuette.
She was designed by N.G. Phansare under the supervision of Walter Langhammer, who was the art director of the Times of India at the time.
Her arms upraised in a dance number, her fingers touching, the bronze lady went silver only once when it was the 25th year of the awards.
She stands 46.5 cms, but she'd better watch her weight. She's a hefty five kgs. And let us praise her a bit in the words of the anonymous writer for Filmfare who said in 1954: ``For sheer grace, beauty and artistic merit, it bears comparison with the best of its kind in the world for it is as classic as our most ancient bronzes and as modern as the newest Florentine expressions.''
PICK OF THE PECK
The guest of honour at the first ever awards (March 24, 1954 at the Metro theatre, Mumbai) was to be Gregory Peck. He couldn't make it--his flight from Colombo, where he was on location for Purple Plain, was delayed. But he did attend the banquet that followed at the Willingdon Sports Club.