Amazon is adding its next high profile celebrity voice option for its digital assistant Alexa, this time exclusively for the Indian market. Starting next year, Alexa users will be able to extend the voice assistant to sound like Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan, one of the most prolific actors in Indian cinema and a household name in the country of more than 1.3 billion people.
India is an important growth market for Amazon outside of the US as the e-commerce platform is currently the most popular in Germany and other European countries. However, India’s strong adoption of smartphones and the growing purchasing power of its large population make it an integral part of Amazon̵
“The baritone who has been enchanting the Indian film industry for over five decades will soon be offering a unique voice experience to the many Indian customers who use Alexa. Yes, you heard that right! Amitabh Bachchan has teamed up with Amazon to create a unique celebrity language experience, ”read an Amazon blog post published on Monday announcing the Bachchan partnership. “Customers in India can access Mr. Bachchan’s famous voice on Alexa by purchasing the Amitabh Bachchan Language Experience. This feature won’t be available until next year. “
It’s not clear how much Amazon wants to charge for Bachchan’s Alexa voice, or if it should ever be available outside of India. But last year the company partnered with actor Samuel L. Jackson for a similar Alexa integration, and Bloomberg reports that the same techniques are used in the partnership with Bachchan, who recorded a series of phrases for an Alexa database that Amazon will expand using artificial intelligence. This ensures that a near-perfect imitation of his voice can be used for words and phrases that Bachchan never recorded in the studio. Google took a similar approach when it hired the voice of musician John Legend for its limited-time Google Assistant add-on.
Like the Samuel L. Jackson option, which costs 99 cents, the Bachchan option won’t completely replace Alexa but will be available for specific requests. “Popular offers such as jokes, weather, Shayaris, motivational quotes, advice and more. When it launches next year, customers in India will be able to easily access the Amitabh Bachchan voice experience by simply asking Alexa and instantly have their favorite superstar’s voice responding to popular requests, ”the blog post reads.