New Delhi: Amitabh Bachchan’s famous baritone is now just a command away as the Bollywood actor becomes the first Indian celebrity to lend his voice to Amazon’s Alexa.
With an introductory fee of Rs 149 for a year, users of Amazon’s voice assistant can access Bachchan’s voice with the command, “Hey Alexa, introduce me to Amitabh Bachchan”.
The feature went live Thursday and according to Amazon, the ‘celebrity voice feature’ will offer jokes, shayari, motivational quotes, anecdotes from his movies and even poetry by his father Harivansh Rai Bachchan.
“The celebrity experience features content handpicked by Mr. Bachchan – stories from his life, a selection of poems by his father, tongue twisters, motivational quotes, and more. In addition to this unique and entertaining content, customers can also ask for music, set alarms and get weather updates in Mr. Bachchan’s signature style,” noted the statement by Amazon.
After activation, these features will be available with the wake-up word “Amit ji” in both Hindi and English. The other tasks such as general information and smart home control among others will be carried out by the default voice assistant.
“Building the Amitabh Bachchan celebrity voice experience with one of India’s most iconic voices has been a labor of love. Creating the world’s first bi-lingual celebrity voice required us to invent and re-invent across almost every element of speech recognition,” said Amazon Alexa’s India country leader Puneesh Kumar, in a statement.
While Bachchan is the first Indian celebrity to lend his voice to Alexa, American actors Samuel L. Jackson and Melissa McCarthy and former basketball player Shaquille O’Neal have done so in the past.
‘Reciting Babuji’s poem a matter of pride’
Bachchan expressed his excitement about the venture in a blog post Friday. “..the utility to be able to speak to me and receive answers in my voice through the magic of modern day technology with sound and audio .. of hours and hours of recordings – almost over 100 hours through days and nights .. the combining of this with the content that is hoped shall invite attention”, he wrote.
“Most importantly and one that brings great pride .. the recitation of Babuji’s works through my rendition in voice, but more importantly to be able to give it the sound of the music that should accompany it,” added Bachchan.
The company had announced its collaboration with the Bollywood star last year.
“The baritone that has enchanted the Indian film industry for over five decades, will soon deliver a unique voice experience to the many Indian customers who use Alexa”, Amazon had announced in September 2020.
(Edited by Rachel John)