Actor Prakash Raj faced online backlash on Monday due to a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, that was perceived by many as a mockery of India’s lunar mission Chandrayaan-3. Raj shared a cartoon on Sunday depicting a man in casual attire pouring tea, accompanied by a Kannada caption that read, “Latest news: First view just arrived from the Chandrayaan #VikramLander #justasking.”
Though the actor didn’t explicitly identify the man in the cartoon, numerous social media users criticized him for seemingly poking fun at the former head of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), K Sivan.
One of those who expressed disapproval was Abhishek Singhvi, a spokesperson for the Congress party. He tweeted, “I condemn Prakash Raj for this shameful tweet. Success of ISRO is success of India.”
Chandrayaan-3, launched on July 14, is poised to achieve a historic landing on the Moon’s southern pole on August 23, marking the first such endeavor. India’s space agency announced the landing time as 6.04 pm on Sunday.
A social media user urged Raj, known for his outspokenness against the government, to avoid injecting political animosity into ISRO’s accomplishments. The user wrote, “Prakashji, this Chandrayan mission is from ISRO not BJP. If it gets succeed, it’s for India not for any party. Why you want this mission to fail? BJP is just a ruling party. It will go one day. But ISRO will remain for years and will make us proud.”
Some individuals felt that the National Award-winning actor had crossed the line with his criticism of the BJP through his recent post. Another user commented, “He is making fun of an achievement that the world considers a milestone.”
“Your actions have lowered your stature… it’s shameful that you are a fellow countryman!! I take pride in ISRO!! Jai Hind,” read another response.
Prakash Raj, recognized for his roles in movies like “Kanchivaram,” “Singham,” and “Wanted,” contested as an independent candidate for the Bengaluru Central Lok Sabha constituency during the 2019 general elections and was unsuccessful.
Chandrayaan-3 stands as a subsequent mission to Chandrayaan-2, aiming to showcase comprehensive capabilities in secure lunar surface landing and roving.