He completed his education from Government Model Boys Higher Secondary School, Thiruvananthapuram and University College Trivandrum. He had a bachelor's degree in Politics and a Diploma in journalism.
Venu started his career as an announcer in Akasavani. He later sung a song in the movie Chottanikkara Amma in 1976 but was noticed only in 1978 when he acted in the movie Ulkkadal directed by K. G. George, thus starting his acting career in movies. His noted movies as an actor are Shalini Ente Koottukari, Meenamasathile Sooryan, Pakshe, and Chillu.
Venu's first movie as a director was Sukhamo Devi (1986) which he himself describes as his own tragical love story. Later he directed the superhit movies Lal Salam, Aey Auto, Aayirappara, Rakthasaakshikal Zindabad etc. Lal Salaam and Rakthasaakshikal Zindabad revolved around the lives of the early Communist leaders of Kerala. It was his directorial projects like "Sughamodevi", "Sarvakalashala", "Aey Auto" and "Lal Salam" that catapulted Mohanlal to the status of a superstar, in the late 1980s.
The movies for which he has sung songs include Chillu, Ente Ammu, Ninte Thulasi, Avarude Chakki, Oru Painkilikatha out of which the song Kochu chakkarachi pettu from the movie Ente Ammu, Ninte Thulasi, Avarude Chakki became quite popular.