Sonali Kulkarni was born in the Marathi-speaking Kulkarni family in Pune, Maharashtra. Her father is an engineer, and she has two siblings, Sandeep and Sandesh. She did her schooling from Abhinava Vidyalaya and graduation from Ferguson College, where she majored in Political Science. Sonali was awarded a scholarship for Marathi literature too. She has impeccable speaking skills in Hindi, Marathi and English and later picked up Gujarati, Italian and Tamil also.
As a child, Sonali was very passionate about acting. She said that she always gambled when it came to her career, whether it was playing a tree in her debut film “
Cheluvi” or playing mother to Hrithik Roshan’s character in “
Mission Kashmir”. (Cheluvi was a Kannada film that was released in 1992) Due to her ineluctable interest in acting, she attended a workshop by
Satyadev Dubey after which she and Sandesh formed “Samanvay”, a theatre group. Sonali married Nachiket Pantvaidya, head of Sony Entertainment Television after she divorced
Chandrakant Kulkarni. Kulkarni has appeared in many movies including one in Italian titled “Fuoco Su Di Me”, for which she bagged an award in the Milan International Film festival. She was also the recipient of a special jury Award in the 49th
National Film Awards (2002) for her role in “
Chaitra”, a Marathi short film. She has received many other prestigious awards for her Marathi films.
She has worked with Doordarshan channel and did some films like “Gulabari” (1994), “Kata Rute Kunala” in 1996 in Marathi. Sonali won the RAPA Award for this as well. She had also participated in the popular dance reality contest “Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa” and appeared in “Kya Yahi Pyaar Hai”, which aired on Star Plus from 1999 till 2000.
For the past few years, Sonali Kulkarni has been in the regional cinema and exclaims that she’s enjoying her time.