The theatrical trailer was released on 4 March 2016, and the film released on 25 March 2016.
Based in a city in Goa, Kabir Ahlawat (John Abraham) lives a quiet life running a pawn shop. His next door neighbor is Anna (Nathalia Kaur), a drug addict and bar dancer. She lives with her little daughter, Naomi, who develops a nurturing relationship with Kabir. Meanwhile, ACP Dilip from the Anti-Narcotics Department of the police force is after the drug kingpin, Mantoo. Mantoo is supported by two powerful brothers, Kevin and Luke, who not only deal drugs but also control a mass racket in organ harvesting with a professional assassin, Attila.
One night, Anna and her accomplice steal drugs from Mantoo's henchman, Bigshow. Anna hides the drugs in a camera that she pawns to Kabir. The loss of the consignment enrages Mantoo and he gives Kevin three days to recover the stolen drugs. Luke and Attila reach Anna's place, where Luke tortures Anna for the camera. Atilla finds Bigshow already fighting with Kabir for it. Kabir is obliged to hand over the camera to Luke when he tells him that both Naomi and her mother are his captives. Kabir gets a call from Kevin to make a delivery to Mantoo, and promises that in return he will set Anna and Naomi free. Kabir goes to deliver the drugs to Mantoo, where he finds that police had already raided Mantoo's haven. Mantoo flees and Kabir chases him, but he is arrested by police. They are shocked to find Anna's naked body with all her organs harvested in Kabir's car. Kevin brutally murders Mantoo, taking all his organs, and becomes the new drug lord.
During interrogation, Kabir escapes from the police station. The police are bewildered by his combat skills and find out that he was a former decorated RAW Agent/Special Forces soldier who retired after his pregnant wife, Rukshida (Shruti Haasan) was murdered. Kabir fights with Attila at a nightclub and is shot, but breaks into a medicine shop and performs an impromptu surgery. He then continues on his journey.
Kabir finds and frees several child slaves in a drug-manufacturing plant, and in the process, kills the younger brother, Luke. He tracks down Kevin, who says that he has had Naomi killed. He shows a container that has what he says are her eyes. In a rage, Kabir kills all the gang members, including Atilla and Kevin.
As Kabir prepares to commit suicide out of grief, Naomi emerges. She had been saved by Attila before her eye surgery; he took pity on her because she had been kind to him. The eyes in the container belonged to the gangsters' surgeon, who had been killed by Attila when he saved Naomi. Kabir is arrested but the police allow Naomi to ride with him. Kabir asks if they can stop at a convenience store, where he buys Naomi a backpack and school supplies. He asks her if she can manage until he returns, to which she nods. He then asks her for a hug before he leaves.John Abraham as Kabir Ahlawat/Rocky/Handsome, A former RAW agent and Special Forces soldier
Shruti Haasan as Rukshida (Special Appearance), Kabir's wife
Nathalia Kaur as Anna, Naomi's mother
Diya Chalwad as Naomi, Rocky's best friend and Anna's daughter
Nishikant Kamat as Kevin Ferreira
Sharad Kelkar as A.C.P Dilip Sangodkar, A cop from Anti-Narcotics Bureau
Shiv Kumar Subramaniam as A.C.P Rebello
Suhasini Mulay as Carla Aunty, a child trafficker
Teddy Maurya as Luke Ferriera, Kevin's brother.
Kazu Patrick Tang as Atilla, Kevin's henchman
Uday Tikekar as Mantoo
Nora Fatehi (special appearance) in the song "Rock Tha Party"
Sanjay Khapre as Inspector Pitale
Shruti Haasan has been cast as John Abraham’s wife, while seven-year-old child actress Diya Chalwad (who was first seen in the movie Kick (2014) ) plays an important role. Nathalia Kaur, who was seen in the item number Dan Dan Cheeni in Ram Gopal Varma’s Department, plays the mother of the child. "But the theme of our film is the action. We are getting action directors from abroad—Eastern Asia—for the stunts," said Kheterpal. According to Sunir Kheterpal, the shooting in Hyderabad was for about 45–50 days. While the second schedule was filmed in Goa, the third was in Mumbai.
The film earned ₹7 crore (US$1.1 million) in one day including paid previews in India. The film went down on day two with collections of ₹4.25 crore (US$660,000) crore nett. The film earned ₹3.50 crore (US$550,000) on third day and the film had a very low weekend of ₹18.75 crore (US$2.9 million) crore nett with ₹1.98 crore (US$310,000) crore nett on paid previews. The collections on Monday were low at around ₹2 crore (US$310,000) nett. The film grossed ₹21 crore (US$3.3 million) in its first week and ₹25.13 crore (US$3.9 million) by the end of its theatrical run.
The music for Rocky Handsome has been composed by Sunny Bawra, Inder Bawra, Ankit Tiwari and Bombay Rockers while the lyrics are penned by Kumaar, Manoj Muntashir, Abhendra Kumar Upadhyay, Sachin Pathak, Sagar Lahauri and Shekhar Astitwa. The album contains total 7 tracks. The first song "Rock Tha Party" was released on 15 February 2016. The soundtrack was released on 22 February 2016 which included 6 songs. Later an unplugged version of Alfazon Ki Tarah was released on 22 March 2016 voiced by Shreya Ghoshal, John Abraham and Ankit Tiwari.
Subhash K. Jha rated the film 4/5, writing "It would have to be a toss-up between Shoojit Sircar's excellent political thriller Madras Café and now Nishikant Kamat's Rocky Handsome." Bollywood Hungama rated the film 3.5/5, writing "On the whole, ROCKY HANDSOME is for people who like action films. Despite the film having a simple plot, it has been garnished with engrossing drama and action stunningly. One can find the right mix of tension, action, emotion under one roof. A well-made action thriller."