Sonali Kulkarni first made her appearance on the screen in a Kannada film titled Cheluvi directed by Girish Karnad. She has appeared in many films including an Italian film titled Fuoco Su di Me for which she won an award in the 2006 Milan International Film Festival.
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."
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.