Mamata Banerjee confuses India’s first Astronaut Rakesh Sharma with actor Rakesh Roshan and calls the 1984 spaceflight a Moon landing

Mamata Banerjee confuses India's first Astronaut Rakesh Sharma with actor Rakesh Roshan and calls the 1984 spaceflight a Moon landing


on 23rd August, India achieved a major milestone in space research when ISRO’s Chandrayaan-3 mission successfully managed the soft landing of the Vikram Lander on the lunar south pole. As the nation celebrated, messages and wishes from politicians started pouring in.

Among the messages, a video clip featuring West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee went viral. In the video, the Bengal CM was seen saying, “I remember, when Rakesh Roshan landed on the Moon, Indira Gandhi asked him how does India look from there..”

The video clip went viral and almost immediately people started asking if Mamata Banerjee watched the movie Koi Mil Gaya instead of ISRO’s livestream of Chandrayaan-3 landing.

X users started asking if that is how the movie Koi Mil Gaya was conceptualized, when Rakesh Roshan went to the Moon and met Jaadu there.

Memes of deceased actor Rakesh Roshan wearing a spacesuit started doing the rounds too.

It was Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma, not Rakesh Roshan, and it was space, not Moon

What Mamata Banerjee probably meant was the conversation between Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma, India’s first astronaut, and the then-Indian PM Indira Gandhi.

Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma, an Indian Air Force pilot, had flown in a Soviet spacecraft Soyuz T-11, in April 1984, becoming the first ever Indian to travel to space. The space flight was a part of the Soviet Interkosmos program. The famous conversation between Indira Gandhi and Sharma took place when he was onboard the spacecraft.

When Indira Gandhi asked Sharma how India looks from space, Sharma answered, “Saare Jahan Se Achcha, Hindustan Hamara” which means “the most beautiful in the world”.

WC Sharma, the first and so far the only Indian citizen to fly to space, spent 7 days, 21 hours, and 40 minutes in space.

Another major slip-up in Mamata Banerjee’s statement was that she thought Rakesh Sharma (whom she referred to as Rakesh Roshan) had landed on the Moon. The Soyuz T-11 never went to the Moon, it was a space mission.

Rakesh Roshan and Koi Mil Gaya connection

Deceased actor and movie maker Rakesh Roshan was the father of Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan. Rakesh Roshan played the role of the scientist who believed in extraterrestrial life in the movie Koi Mil Gaya. In that movie, Rakesh Roshan’s character sends some sound signals to space and receives a response from aliens. Years later, an alien named Jaadu visits his son and becomes his friend.

The social media memes mocked Mamata Banerjee for confusing India’s first astronaut with a Bollywood actor and calling Rakesh Sharma’s famous spaceflight a ‘Moon landing mission’.

Banerjee, however, is not the only politician to get the very basics wrong. Rajasthan’s sports minister Ashok Chandna was seen congratulating the ‘passengers’ onboard the Chandrayaan-3 landing craft.





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