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Meet the Nigerian Bramptonite who reviews Tamil movies on the web

Osasu Oke, a Nigerian-Canadian, loves the passionate fan base and intense action of Tamil cinema - nevermind that he doesn't speak the language.

Osasu Oke may not speak the language but he loves the passionate fans of Tamil cinema

Osasu Oke in a still from his review of smash-hit Baahubali 2. His review was shot in the theatre right after he saw the movie. He gave the larger-than-life action movie a rating of 10 out of 10. (Whistle Adi)

A Nigerian-Canadian's journey into the world of Tamil cinema started in the most Canadian of places: a Brampton Tim Hortons.

It was there that Osasu Oke, known as Zazu, met with a Scarborough native named Rajeev Kugan who had an idea for a new web series that reviewed Tamil films.

The pair hit it off, Oke was taken on as host, and Whistle Adi, as the YouTube channel is known, was born.

Oke found the movies — and their audiences — easy to love from the start.

"The films are well-done; the effects, the action, and it's funny," he said during an interview on CBC Radio's Metro Morning.

Oke had graduated from theatre school when he first began recording reviews and reaction videos for Whistle Adi. (Osasu Oke/Facebook)

He adores the passionate audiences who come to films dressed as the characters and celebrate new releases with parties.

"It's like in the [United States] where they worship football … these people worship cinema," he explained. 

Tamil cinema is also known as Kollywood, a portmanteau of Hollywood and Kodambakkam, a neighbourhood with a high concentration of Tamil film studios in Chennai, India. 

On Whistle Adi, you can watch Oke react in real time to teasers for the latest blockbusters, review films in the lobby of cinemas right after he watches them, and even get dressed up as well-known characters.

He also does short dubs of different scenes, muting a character's dialogue and speaking for them, though he speaks almost no Tamil himself.

"Thank goodness for subtitles!" he said.

Oke did a video in which he dressed up as Kabali, the title character from a Tamil-language gangster drama. (Whistle Adi)

What Tamil he knows, he's picked up from movies: how to answer the phone, introduce himself, or rap part of a song in the well-known action flick Kabali.

The formula — an excited Oke, freaking out about the latest films and stars — has proven to be a winning one: Whistle Adi has more than 20,000 subscribers on Youtube. 

"At movie theatres, [people] come up to me, shake my hand," said Oke, brushing off the occasional racist comment he gets on his videos as people "stuck in their old fashioned ways." 

There is a certain "shock value" to seeing a black man getting excited about Tamil cinema, Oke acknowledged.

But his fans? "They love it. The more they see someone appreciating their culture, the more important they feel their culture is to the world," he said.

"I do this because it shows you can connect with anyone through art, whether it's Indian culture, Asian culture, African culture."

With files from Metro Morning