HONG KONG – Alfonso Cuaron’s Oscar-winning “Gravity” cost more to produce than India’s real life space mission, India’s Prime Minister has claimed.

Narendra Modi, India’s recently elected Prime Minister, made the suggestion Monday at the launch of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle from Sriharikota, a spaceport in southern India. The rocket was carrying four satellites from Germany, France, Canada and Singapore.

“I have heard about the film ‘Gravity.’ I am told the cost of sending an Indian rocket to space is less than the money invested in making the Hollywood movie,” Modi said.

The budget of the U.K.-U.S-produced 3D sci-fi thriller, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, is understood to be in the region of $100 million.
By contrast India’s program to launch a Mars probe has a price tag of INR 4.5 billion ($73 million).

It is not clear whether the official cost of India’s Mars mission includes earlier infrastructure or R&D expenditure. The country was forced to develop its own space technology when Western countries imposed sanctions on India following its 1974 nuclear test.