Sonali was of a very young age her passion was acting, and she got a chance to exhibit her talents during the Ganesh Mahotsav. She was enrolled in the Abhinav Vidhyalaya in Pune, and after completing schooling was enrolled in Fergusson College, where she majored in Political Science and got a scholarship in Marathi literature. She speaks Hindi, Marathi and English fluently, and has also picked-up Gujarati, Italian, and Tamil.

After attending a workshop by Satyadev Dubey, Sonali and Sandesh formed a theater group called Samanvay.

She first made her appearance on the tinsel screen in a Kannada movie titled 'Cheluvi', and thereafter has appeared in a total of 32 movies, including one in Italian titled 'Fuoco Si Di Me' for which she won an award in the 2006 Milan International Film Festival.

Apart from acting, she is also an editor with 'Viva', a supplement of 'Loksatta', and pens a weekly column called 'So Kool'.

April 12, 2006: Actress Sonali Kulkarni has won the best actress award at the Milan Film Festival for her performance in Italian film Fuoco Su Di Me (My Heart Is On Fire).

Sonali is currently showcasing her dancing skills in a popular dance program (Jhalak dikla jaa) on Sony TV. Apart from this she will be seen in a movie Strangers with Kay Kay Menon & Jimmy Shergill.