Sonali Kulkarni first made her appearance on the screen in a Kannada film titled Cheluvi directed by Girish Karnad. She thereafter has appeared in many films, which includes an Italian film titled Fuoco Di Su Me for which she won an award in the 2006 Milan International Film Festival.
She has received a Special Jury Award (non-feature) in the 49th National Film Awards (2002) for her role in a short film in Marathi Chaitra.
Apart from acting, she was an editor with Viva, a supplement of Marathi daily newspaper Loksatta from June 2005 till May 2007. She used to pen a weekly column called "So Kool". The columns are published in the book So Kool by Rajahansa Prakashan. Actor Nana Patekar on the release of this book said, "Whenever I read her articles, I feel she is talking to me. There is so much of simplicity in her writing."
Sonali showed her dancing skills in the second season of the popular celebrity-dance competition show Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa on Sony TV.
She has also worked with Doordarshan channel and did some films like 'Gulabari' in 1994 in Hindi which telecast in 1995 and 'Kata Rute Kunala' in 1996 in Marathi for which she has also got RAPA Award-Best television performance of the year.
She was also seen in one story (Kya Yahi Pyaar Hai-Directed by Tanuja Chaturvedi) of Star Bestsellers TV Series telecast in 1999-2000 on Star Plus.
Sonali was born in a Maharashtrian Brahmin family at Pune, Maharashtra. Her father is an engineer and she has two brothers: Sandeep and Sandesh. She completed her schooling from Abhinava Vidyalaya and did her graduation from Ferguson College, where she majored in Political Science and got a scholarship in Marathi literature. For her interest in acting she attended a workshop by Satyadev Dubey after which she and Sandesh formed a theater group called Samanvay. Sandesh is now a film director.
Sonali's first brief marriage with Chandrakant Kulkarni, film director and writer, ended in a divorce. Since May 24, 2010 she is married to Nachiket Pantvaidya. Pantvaidya is MD of Fox TV Studios and this is also his second marriage. Together they have one daughter born on October 18, 2011.
1996: RAPA Awards, "Best television performance of the year", "Kata Rute Kunala (Marathi)"
1996: Filmfare Awards(Marathi), "Best Actress", Doghi
2002: National Film Award - Special Jury Award / Special Mention (Non-Feature Film), Chaitra
2004: Star Screen Awards(Marathi), "Best Actress", Devrai
2005: Milan International Film Festival, "Best Actress", Fuoco Di Su Me (Fire At My Heart)
2001: Filmfare Awards, Best Supporting Actress, Mission Kashmir
2001: Screen Weekly Awards Best Supporting Actress, Mission Kashmir
2011 Deool -Vahini Saheb(Marathi)
2011 Singham- Megha Kadam(Hindi)
2011 Mumbai Cutting (Hindi)
2010 Irada Pakka (Marathi)
2010 Ringa Ringa (Marathi)
2010 The Camp -Sonali Manthe(Hindi)
2009 Well Done Abba -Malti(Hindi)
2009 Love Khichdi -Shanta Bheemrao Bhansode(Hindi)
2009 Shadow Inspector -Sanjana Singh Rajpoot (Hindi)
2009 Mohandas -Meghna(Hindi)
2009 Gandha Raavi(Marathi)
2009 Gabhricha Paus Alka (Marathi)
2009 Tya Ratri Paus Hota (Marathi)
2009 Gulmohar (Marathi)
2008 Rishton Ki Machine (Hindi)
2008 Vasudev Balwant Phadke -Bhawani(Marathi)
2008 Via Darjeeling -Rimli Sharma / Sangeeta (Hindi)
2008 Sirf -Namita Ranade(Hindi)
2007 Sakhi (Marathi)
2007 Strangers -Nandini S. Rai(Hindi)
2006 Restaurant (Marathi)
2006 I See You (Hindi)
2006 Darna Zaroori Hai -Mrs. Pilgaonkar (Hindi)
2006 Taxi Number 9211 -Mrs. Sunita R. Shastri (Hindi)
2005 Love is Blind (Gujarati)
2005 White Rainbow --Priya (Hindi)
2005 Fuoco Di Su Me Graziella (Italian)
2004 Bride & Prejudice -Chandra Lamba(English)
2004 Devrai -Seena(Marathi)
2004 Hanan -Devi Bhagwati / Pagli (Hindi)
2004 Silence Please... The Dressing Room -Reporter Aparna Sen(Hindi)
2004 1:1.6 An Ode to Lost Love -Asha(English)
2003 Danav --Lakshmi(Hindi)
2002 Dil Vil Pyar Vyar Gauri (Hindi)
2002 Agni Varsha -Nittilai(Hindi)
2002 Kitne Door Kitne Paas -Jaya Patel(Hindi)
2002 Chaitra Krati (Marathi)
2002 Junoon (Hindi)
2001 Dil Chahta Hai -Pooja(Hindi)
2001 Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya -Geeta(Hindi)
2000 Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar -Ramabai Ambedkar(Hindi)
2000 Mission Kashmir -Neelima Khan(Hindi)
2000 Kairee -Kamli's daughter (adult)(Marathi)
1999 Jahan Tum Le Chalo -Namrata Shorey(Hindi)
1996 Daayraa -The Girl(Hindi)
1996 Vrindavan Film Studios --Radha(English)
1995 Doghi -Krishna(Marathi)
1994 May Madham -Sandhya(Tamil )
1994 Mukta -Mukta(Marathi)
1992 Cheluvi Cheluvi (Kannada) -a Doordarshan production
1994 Gulabari (Hindi) -a Doordarshan production-telecast in 1995
1999-2000 Kya Yahi Pyaar Hai -Anju(Hindi) -a story of Star Bestsellers TV Series-telecast on Star Plus in 1999-2000
1996 Kata Rute Kunala -Meera(Marathi) -Telecast on Doordarshan and also got RAPA Award-Best television performance of the year