Vignesh Shivan studied in Santhome Hr Sec School, Mylapore. After completion of his studies, he decided to make his mark in the film industry.
He made a short film and after getting Dharan to compose music for it; showed the film to producers, Gemini Film Circuit, and then to his childhood friend, Silambarasan and both parties agreed to collaborate to make it a feature film titled Podaa Podi in the year 2012. The film languished in production for close to four years, before finally releasing in October 2012 to mixed reviews. He then continued to be active in films by working as a lyricist, filming independent music videos and appearing in an acting role as an engineer in Velaiyilla Pattathari in the year 2014.
His second film, Naanum Rowdydhaan (2015), like his first film, went through several changes of cast and production studios, before finalizing on Vijay Sethupathi and Nayantara as actors and Dhanush as producer. The film, for which he drew inspiration from the lives of his parents, opened to positive reviews in October 2015. He also won SIIMA Award for Best Director for this film. In addition to direction, he has also written lyrics of various films.