Setna began his acting career after winning a scholarship to RADA in 1960. He has played roles in productions from Delhi, Pune, Mumbai, Calcutta, Hyderabad and Bangalore. Before this he was employed building houses as a manual labourer in the 1950s.
Setna has appeared in some of Britain's most successful television series: Z-Cars, Doomwatch, I, Claudius, Cloud Burst, It Ain't Half Hot Mum, Only Fools and Horses, Doctor Who, Crossroads, The Bill, Open All Hours, Are You Being Served?, Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em, In Sickness and in Health, Minder, Holby City, Silent Witness and Collision. Renu Setna's stage work includes Khahil Gibran at the Commonwealth Theatre in London, Shakespeare roles , Gandhi directed by Peter Stevenson with John Castle in the title role at the Tricycle Theatre, and the role of the Chaplain in Mother Courage and Her Children by Bertolt Brecht also directed by Peter Stevenson for Internationalist Theatre for which he gained good notices in The Stage.
- "BBC One - In Sickness and in Health - Episode guide". BBC. May 2003 – via bbc.co.uk.
- Digitv Guide (2018). "TV roles played by Renu Setna". digiguide – via digiguide.tv.
- BBC Drama (2018). "BBC Hustle role played by Renu Setna". BBC – via bbc.co.uk.
- Khahil Gibran (1985). "Khahil Gibran". Renu Setna – via virtualpune.com.
- Warwick University (2018). "Renu Setna's Shakespeare roles". bbashakespaere – via warwick.ac.uk.
- Archives Hub. "Renu Setna in Gandhi at the Tricycle Theatre". Tricycle Theatre. Retrieved 2 July 2018 – via jisc.ac.uk.
- theatricalia. "Mother Courage and Her Children cast and crew retrieved from Theatricalia.com". Cast and crew of Mother Courage Internationalist Theatre – via Theatricalia.com.
- Graham (2018). "Mother Courage and Her Children archiv". Bertolt-Brecht-Archiv Aufführungsmaterial – via archiv.adk.de.
- Peter Hepple (13 May 1982). "Art of Keeping alive". The Stage – via Internet Archive.
- Peter Hepple (13 May 1982). "Screenshot of British Newspaper Archive The Stage review of Mother Courage Art of Keeping alive no 8". The Stage – via britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk.
- IMDB (13 May 1982). "Renu Setna IMDB publicity". IMDB – via imdb.com.
- "Indian actor hits back in soap row". BBC News. May 2003.
- Newton, Darrell (19 July 2013). Paving the Empire Road: BBC television and black Britons. Manchester University Press. ISBN 9781847794604. Retrieved 25 December 2019 – via Google Books.
- D. McKiernan (21 May 2008). Cinema and Community. p. 132. ISBN 9780230582804.
- Midgley, Dominic (6 November 2015). "Why are BBC bosses so nervous about making It Ain't Half Hot Mum available again". Daily Express. Retrieved 11 February 2021.