The film was produced by Waheed Murad (1938-1983). For the female lead, he invited a Bengali heroine who had never worked in West Pakistan before: Shabnam, who later became a legend in her own right.
The parable, set in a community of fishermen, presented two friends. The protagonist (played by Waheed) wants to marry the chief’s daughter (Shabnam) while his friend (Haneef) wants to become the next chief. For this, he starts playing into the hands of an outsider whose main interest is exploitation. The protagonist beats his misguided friend in election but returns chieftainship to him after taking a solemn oath that he’ll protect the people.
If the beloved is taken as the ideology of Pakistan, then West Pakistan becomes the lover while the leaders of East Pakistan at that time could be identified with the friend playing into the hands of the enemy (India later invaded East Pakistan). At the crucial moment (when the protagonist has to decide whether he should fight his friend in the larger interest of the community), people dressed in various ethnic costumes are listening to the famous Sufi song, “Lal mori pat” at the tomb of a saint while the singer is wearing a Jinnah cap – need we say more?
Unfortunately the popularity of Waheed Murad as an actor has completely eclipsed the fact that he was one of the best screenwriters we have had in Urdu (he wrote four of his own films including Armaan). If this was the message of Samandar, then what else lies beneath the surface of eight other "auteur films" (films which he produced and also acted in them)?