The Bollywood superstar will be the first Indian celebrity to lend her voice to a digital assistant starting next year.
Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan will be the first Indian celebrity to lend his voice to Amazon digital assistant Alexa starting next year, as the Silicon Valley giant expands its presence in the important market.
The 77-year-old actor has been a household name in India for nearly half a century, and his deep baritone is instantly recognizable to listeners in the nation of 1.3 billion people.
Foreign companies such as Amazon have spent tens of billions of dollars in India in recent years as they battle for part of the Asian giant’s burgeoning digital economy.
In a blog post posted on Monday, Amazon India said Bachchan’s “voice experience” feature will be available for purchase on Alexa next year.
“It will include popular offerings such as jokes, weather, shayaris (poetry), motivational quotes, tips and more,” the company said.
Alexa first launched the celebrity voice option last year with actor Samuel L Jackson, following a similar move by Google the year before, which gave users the option to hear the singer John Legend on the Google Assistant.
“I’m excited to create this vocal experience,” the Bollywood megastar said on the Amazon blog.
“With voice technology, we are building something to interact more effectively with my audience and supporters. “
Her previous foray into voice blogging in 2010, Bachchan Bol-Bachchan Speak, allowed fans to listen to prerecorded messages by the star with the push of a button.
In addition to competing with voice-activated devices like Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant for consumers, Amazon is battling Walmart-backed Flipkart and JioMart, owned by Asia’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, for a share of the online retail market.
The tech giant, which is owned by Jeff Bezos, the richest person in the world, is also trying to win looks with its streaming service that rivals Netflix and Disney + Hotstar.
Bachchan and his family are among India’s most prominent coronavirus patients.
The superstar, her actor son Abhishek, actress Aishwarya Rai’s daughter-in-law and granddaughter Aaradhya were all hospitalized in July. All four have since been released.
The veteran star returned to work last month to film the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? after authorities relaxed coronavirus restrictions on filming and television series.
Nonetheless, with cases in India approaching five million, authorities in Mumbai – the homeland of Bollywood – have asked production houses to ensure that communal facilities are routinely disinfected, masks worn, and social distancing “followed throughout. wherever possible “.
Bachchan’s latest film, the comedy-drama Gulabo Sitabo, went straight to Amazon’s streaming service in June, after cinemas in India closed in March over fears of a pandemic.