The South superstar's 'Rana' may not meet its 2012 deadline as earlier scheduled due to his health issues

When Rajnikanth gave his first shot in five months for Shah Rukh Khan's Ra.One, his fans heaved a sigh of relief. The South superstar, who has been virtually bed-ridden due to poor health over the past few months, flew down to Mumbai only as a favour to SRK.

Unfortunately, he is still not fit enough to indulge in too much physical activity. As a result, his dream project Rana (expected to kick-off earlier this year in April) will only go on the floors in December. Says director KS Ravikumar, "We thought of starting the shoot in October, but there's no point starting it unless Rajni sir is completely fit.

Yes, it's taking a while, but that can't be helped. We will decide the final dates of the shoot in December." Due to the constant delays, speculations were rife that Rana may be shelved altogether. However, Rajnikanth shooting a cameo for Ra.One put those rumours to rest.

The much-talked-about set for the period film was expected to be up at Ramoji Studios by October 3, but clearly this delay may be a blessing in disguise for the workers who have been toiling away to put together elaborate sets.

Adds a source, "There's a lot of money being pooled into the film and there is no question of stalling it. There have been enough roadblocks, but Rajni sir believes that once the shooting begins, things will pick up pace."

The makers of the film were earlier hoping to release Rana by early 2012, but that is certainly not likely to happen now. "Post production may take as much time as the shoot itself. There is a good chance the film may not manage a 2012 release," says the source.