Amazon.com Inc. has signed up Bollywood mega star Amitabh Bachchan for its Alexa voice assistant, stealing a march over rivals Apple Inc.’s Siri and Alphabet Inc.’s Google Assistant as a country of 1.3 billion people adapts to voice-enabled internet services.
Amazon first used a celebrity voice when Hollywood actor Samuel L. Jackson made a debut on Alexa. It has since added professional voice actors who recite Shakespeare, Mark Twain, proverbs and fables. Last year, rival Google Assistant added the voice of American singer John Legend. The dominant Google voice assistant has yet to debut a celebrity voice in India.
From 2021, Bollywood Big B Amitabh Bachchan will lend his voice to Amazon Alexa where users can hear jokes, weather, poems, motivational quotes, advice, and more in his voice. The tech giant has roped in Bachchan as Alexa’s first-ever celebrity voice in India.
Mr Bachchan’s instantly recognizable voice has added to his star status in hit Bollywood movies, a podcast and the Indian version of the television game show “Who wants to be a millionaire?”. On Monday, the actor posted on Instagram, “ek nayi soch…ek nayi drishti…ek nayi disha,” Hindi for what was for him “a new thinking, a new view, a new direction.”
Amit Agarwal, Amazon’s India head and former assistant to Jeff Bezos. Mr Agarwal, who is a fervent Mr Bachchan fan, fluently spouts lines from Mr Bachchan’s hit movies and to this day sports Mr Bachchan’s hair style from decades ago.“Personally, as an ardent fan of Mr. Bachchan, I am thrilled and looking forward,” Mr Agarwal told Bloomberg News.