May 18, 1988 in Pune, Maharashtra, India
May 18, 1988 in Pune, Maharashtra, India
Sonalee Kulkarni is an Indian actress who works mostly in Marathi films, along with a few Bollywood appearances. She shot to fame with the Marathi blockbuster Natrang (2010), especially for her lavani dance song "Apsara Aali" in the movie, which is when she was appreciated for her exemplary dancing skills.
Sonalee comes from an army background. Her father, Manohar Kulkarni, worked in the Armed forces for 30 years. Her father is a Deshastha Brahmin from Maharashtra while her mother Savinder Kulkarni is a Punjabi, which is why she grew up speaking both Punjabi and Marathi at home. She has one younger brother. She was born in a Military Hospital in Pune and brought up in the army cantonment area. She studied at the Army school, Kendriya Vidyalaya and the Ferguson college, Pune. She completed a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indira School of Communication, Pune. She has been practicing dance from the age of five and learnt Bharatnatyam during her school years.
Sonalee debuted in the Marathi film industry with Gadhvacha Lagna (2006) wherein she had a small role. Her seamless performance in the film caught the eye of Kedar Shinde who cast her in a lead role in his 2007 movie Bakula Namdeo Ghotale. Though the film did not make any impact at the box office, Sonalee`s performance won her a Zee Gaurav award. She then worked featured in movies like Aba Zindabad (2008) and Hai Kai Nai Kai (2009), but these two neither set the cash registers ringing nor did they win any critical acclaim.
Natarang that released on first January in 2010 was a turning point in her career. The film that depicted the journey of a folk artist had Sonalee play the lead dancer in the folk theatre troupe. Natarang, directed by Ravi Jadhav, was a blockbuster and Sonalee`s performance as Naina in the film received a lot of accolades. Her dancing skills left the whole of Maharashtra impressed and she came to be known as the `Apsara Girl` for her dance in the song `Apsara Ali`. She had a slew of releases in 2010 like Samudra, Sa Sasucha, Irada Pakka, Goshta Lagnanantarchi, and Kshanbhar Visharanti. However, none of these movies made any impact either at the box office or among the critics.
Nitin Chandrakant Desai`s Ajintha in 2012 was her next big role after the success of Natarang. She played the role of a tribal girl named Paro, who a British artist falls in love with, on his visit to India to paint the historical monuments and scriptures. This film too failed at the box office and neither did her performance get any praise.
The year 2013 saw her debut in Bollywood with the film Grand Masti. A sequel to the hit Masti (2004), the movie saw her play the wife of Riteish Deshmukh. Though, the film was panned by the critics, it was a massive success at the box office. The actress` second release in the year Zapatlela 2, a sequel to the very popular Zapatlela (1993), was a commercial failure.
Sonalee`s second Hindi film Singham Returns (2014), in which she had a minor role, was also declared a blockbuster. Her Marathi release, Rama Madhav directed by Mrinal Kulkarni, in the same year was also well received by the masses as well as the critics. Sonalee played the role of Anandibai in this historical epic. Her next film Classmates (2015), a remake of a Malayalam film by the same name, turned out to be an average success, but the romantic movie Mitwa in the same year, which starred her, Prarthana Behre and Swapnil Joshi in lead roles, was declared a hit and also got mostly positive reviews from the critics. She was part of another Malayalam remake Shutter (2015) in which Sonalee was seen in the role of a hooker.
Her 2016 release includes Poshter Girl, which was again a sequel to Poshter Boys (2014), featured her in the lead role. She played a girl who a bunch of guys in a village are trying hard to woo. The film received mostly positive response from critics and was declared a hit by the audience. Her 2019 release includes Ti And Ti, and Hirkani.