Starting 2021, Amazon India has confirmed that the legendary Bollywood actor will become the first Indian celebrity whose voice will feature on the Alexa voice assistant. The trademark sound of Bachchan’s voice will be a paid upgrade, and will be added through the Alexa Skills interface. Once added, users can have Bachchan update them about the weather, offer jokes and even life advice, narrate poetry and also offer motivation, in a bid to entertain more users and rope them into the Alexa ecosystem.
In a press statement issued upon the announcement, Puneesh Kumar, chief executive and managing director of Alexa India, said, “Mr Bachchan’s voice is truly memorable for any Indian who has grown-up with Bollywood. This combination delivers a perfect pitch to further delight and simplify the lives of our customers. We are excited to see how our customers will respond when they use Alexa and hear his voice.”
Celebrity voices on technology platforms are not particularly unheard of. Legendary Hollywood star Samuel L. Jackson was announced in 2019 as the first celebrity voice of Alexa. Prior to that, fellow star and legendary actor Morgan Freeman featured as the voice of GPS app Waze’s voice navigation feature. However, feature celebrity voices on audio-enabled technology platforms is typically a promotional venture, and it is yet to be seen if Bachchan’s voice on Alexa will remain as a permanent offering, or will appear as a short-duration promotional feature. Jackson’s voice interestingly featured only for users with their language and region configured to English (USA), and it is not known yet if Bachchan’s voice will be similarly geo-restricted as well.
While it is confirmed that Bachchan’s Alexa voice will be a paid Skill upgrade, it is not clear as to which language would his voice feature on. It is likely that Bachchan will speak in his native Hindi, and may also have a few witty one-liners to offer in English too. As mentioned, the voice will be premiered on all Alexa-enabled devices in India, including third party smartphones and TVs with the Alexa voice assistant, some time in 2021.