What characterizes super-heroes is their ability to solve the problems of human beings in a matter of a few seconds. They are brave, helpful and supportive. However, the superheroes we usually come across have unrealistic attributes attached to them as well. We are not always sure of what it is that has turned them into these powerful creatures, and we are also not able to identify with the gadgets they have with them with which they are able to perform better than other people. As a result, at times, superheroes become unrelatable and fail to inspire. One cannot relate to them because their powers are out of the world which people cannot think of owing. A disappointment at the inability to own such powers then becomes the reason why people cannot take these heroes as their inspiration, for people are inclined to think that if it is through gadgets and undiscovered techniques that the world can be made a better place to live in, then it is impossible for a common man to do so.
Ustaani Ji, the titular character of HUM TV’s drama series “Ustaani Ji”, however, is a heroine one can look up to and identify with as well. Written by Yasra Rizvi who herself plays the protagonist and directed by Angeline Malik, Ustaani Ji (the stock character of the series) is a professor of Psychology who solves the problems of her friends and neighbours and never hesitates to be of help. Ustaani Jee is a simple, relatable human being who lives in an area inhabited by common people. She neither lands from the sky nor erupts from inside the earth, but moves in and out of an ordinary house like everyone else. She wears the same clothes as everyone else does. What realistically differentiates her from the people around her is not some gadget which she has which the others are devoid of, but her education. And this is what makes her a realistic super-woman. It is through her expertise on a subject like Psychology that she is able to probe into people’s matters and solve them easily. Through this series, Yasra Rizvi presents the idea of education as the real power, infusing realism into the drama. Since it is through her education that Ustaani Jee is able to face the world and solve the problems of the society, the lesson taught is that it is education and the application of its understanding in real life that makes one shine amidst other people. One can say that the special gadget which Ustaani Jee has is her degree, and it is something which people cannot only desire, but acquire as well if they wish to serve their fellow humans, for education is not something unattainable which one may find in fantasy films only, but is available to everyone through multiple means.
What further makes Ustaani Jee realistic are her own limitations as a human. She is not presented as a supreme being with no problems to face but to solve only. In the recent episodes of the serial, we have seen Ustaani Jee being cheated by her brother and her house being thrown into the hands of hooligans. But what happens when Ustaani Jee encounters such mishaps is that the people she has always been helpful towards take pains to bring happiness to their saviour, examples being the characters of Abeera and Ahsan, played by Ghana Ali and Hammad Farooqui.
Hence, what this simple, non-glamorous series does is this: it creates a world that can be idealized, but does it in such a manner that the viewers are not pushed towards mocking the idealism of the writer. They are made to understand that becoming a super-hero is not something unattainable, or something that requires out-of-the-world attributes and powers. Through education, and education procured in such a way that one is able to apply it in real life, people can form a better understanding of life and its problems, and can help those fellow human beings who, due to some reason, have remained deprived of education. Secondly, the fact that if Ustaani Jee faces some problem, the people who are indebted to her come to help her, teaches how serving the people in times of need can result in a society in which the act of helping others becomes mutual and common, people are brought together and the evil is gradually removed.